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Keller to visit southern border; blasts Biden on failure to address issue

A young boy and woman from El Salvador enter the United States illegally after crossing the Colorado River below Morelos Dam early Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in front of U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (second from left), (R-AZ 4th District), who stands close to the border wall near County 8 1/2 Street and the Yuma Levee Road. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP)

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, criticized the Biden Administration for failing to visit the Mexican border and investigate immigration issues there.

Next week, he will accompany other Republican lawmakers of the House Oversight Committee there to find answers himself, he said.

“The Administration is unwilling to go to the border. They are not allowing the press to cover the border and the crisis there,” he said. “I am going to see first-hand the situation there.”

He plans to talk to border agents to learn what is needed to help solve the problem.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently stated that the U.S. is expected to reach the highest number of people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border in two decades.

Most single adults and families were being expelled, but not unaccompanied children, he said.

He has attributed the surge at the border on poverty, high levels of violence and corruption in Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries as well as to the Trump Administration’s dismantling of the asylum system.

“He is entitled to his opinions, but not his own facts,” Keller said.

The lawmaker, who represents the 12th Congressional District, which includes Lycoming County, said there are humanitarian issues to consider with woman and children being taken advantage of.

Mayorkas has called for building new facilities to increase capacity, working with Mexico to receive expelled families, and developing a more formal refugee program.

“Why do you need more facilities?” Keller said.

The first thing that needs to be done, he added, is to reinstate Trump Administration policies.

“Now we see people from Yemen on the terrorist list coming,” he added.

A 33-year-old man was reportedly stopped Jan. 29 a few miles from the Calexico Port of Entry and a 26-year-old man was arrested at the same port of entry March 30.

Both men were from Yemen, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Keller was asked if the U.S. will find a way to work past the politics of the issue.

“It’s simple. Enforce our laws,” he said. “The first step in improving is admitting you have a problem. The president and vice president, who is supposedly in charge of the situation, have refused to go down there.”

He accused the Biden Administration of being “inconsistent” on the issue.

Keller will leave for the trip Sunday and return Tuesday.

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