Border tour: Senators heckled by ‘coyotes,’ Biden officials tried to block photos
Paul Bedard ” Washington Examiner
Republican senators on a two-day whirlwind tour of several border facilities were heckled by Mexican “coyotes” across the Rio Grande and told not to take photos of holding areas crammed with children.
One of the 18 senators on the fact-finding tour to South Texas, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, told Secrets that a Biden aide involved in the tour asked that he delete his photos. Like others on the trip, he didn’t.
Inside a migrant processing and holding center in Donna, Texas, Braun said, “There was one of Biden’s representatives. I felt sorry for the lady because she actually talked to me about deleting a picture, but by the time she got to me, all those other pictures were taken, and that shows you the hypocrisy,” he said.
“None of us would have gone down there if we were going to be muzzled,” said Braun, who added that Border Patrol also asked that no photos were to be taken, but that “they were telling us that because they had to.”
Those photos showed children as young as 3 years old jammed into the facilities that Braun described as the worst situation for migrants in 20 years. He earlier provided Secrets with a video of migrants being held by the dozens under a bridge.
In a debriefing of the tour, Braun said that one of the first stops was with border agents at the edge of the Rio Grande, where illegal immigrants typically cross. There, he said, the “coyotes,” who charge $4,000 to $20,000 to get migrants across, heckled the group in Spanish.
“All of a sudden to hear from the other side of the river taunting from the smugglers and coyotes, most of it in Spanish, telling the border guards that whatever you do, we’re coming,” said Braun. “That kind of hit home in such an anecdotal way because it is one story that kind of is a metaphor for what’s happening all up and down the border,” he added.
Braun and others on the trip said the crisis is Biden’s fault. They said that by messaging he would end former President Donald Trump‘s policies, end the construction of the wall, and stop demanding that Mexico hold migrants until cleared to enter, the border was essentially open.
“A big welcome sign was put out,” said Braun. “I think it was a political blunder.”
The lawmakers raised concerns that the surge of up to 6,000 illegal immigrants a day has diverted over 40% of the border officers to processing and holding facilities. Some have even been dispatched to guard migrants sent to hospitals.
Braun said many illegal immigrants, up to half in some groups, enter with COVID-19.
While it took Trump four years to get control of the border, Braun said that Biden could do it faster, but only if he implemented some of Trump’s policies. He noted that the Border Patrol said the wall was the best at preventing crossings and helped it redistribute agents to high-traffic areas.
But that is very unlikely, said Braun.
“The Border Patrol said the No. 1 thing that’s worked to help us would be the wall. Complete it. Of course, can you imagine the egg on his face if Biden said we’re going to complete the wall, fill in the holes, make the gates work? I don’t think they’ll do any of that, so I think they’re going to die on this hill,” he said.