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Sen. Cruz, Republican Senate Colleagues Tour Donna Facility, Meet With Local Officials and Authorities to Address Border Crisis

‘This was avoidable, this was preventable, and regardless of your party -- Republican or Democrat -- you should look at what’s going on here, and say, ‘Enough is enough’’

March 27, 2021

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MISSION, Texas - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), joined by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) this week participated in a roundtable with stakeholders, including Brandon Judd, the President of National Border Patrol Council, to discuss the conditions on the ground in the Rio Grande Valley.

Next, the delegation visited the Donna U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility, which is used for housing and processing illegal immigrants. Currently, the facility has far surpassed maximum holding capacity and roughly 10 percent of facility occupants have tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by the CBP. Due to President Biden's press restrictions, the media was not allowed to accompany the delegation inside the facility.

After the tour, the senators met with the Pharr International Bridge Office of Field Operations, City of Pharr officials, border mayors, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) working to combat the ongoing crisis. The senators then visited the border wall to see where President Biden has halted its construction.

Finally, the delegation was given a boat tour by Texas Department of Public Safety of the Rio Grande River, before ending the day discussing their findings with reporters. Watch Sen. Cruz's opening remarks here. Read them below.

"It is terrific that John [Senator Cornyn] and I were able to bring 18 senators down to Texas, down to the [Rio Grande] Valley to see firsthand the crisis that is unfolding here. All of us today witnessed the Biden cages. What is occurring here on the border is heartbreaking, and it is a tragedy.

"You know, as we stand by the banks of the Rio Grande, we have an army of TV cameras here. It is striking that not a single one of these cameras is allowed in the Donna facility. We requested that media accompany us in the facility - the Biden administration said no. But the Trump administration had allowed media inside facilities like that, the Obama administration allowed media inside facilities like that, the George W. Bush administration had, the Bill Clinton administration had. But the Biden administration wants to hide what is going on here.

"Not only that, but a number of us took pictures and took videos, because the American people have a right to know what is happening here. And the Biden administration sent down political handlers to try to keep silent, to try to keep the American people not knowing what's going on. The Donna facility is a giant tent city, built with a capacity [during COVID] of 250 - it has nearly 4,000 people in it. We saw cages after cages of little girls and little boys, lying side by side, touching each other, covered with reflective emergency blankets. There was no six foot space, there was no three foot space, there wasn't a three inch space between the children lined up one after the other after the other. And children as young as infants - we saw play pens with infants and toddlers playing.

"We also saw a group of children who just today tested positive for COVID-19. The Donna facility alone reports roughly ten percent of the individuals being held there are testing positive for COVID-19 - rates dramatically higher than the US population, and the Biden administration is taking people who are testing positive for COVID-19 and locking them in cages, side by side. This is inhumane. It is wrong, and it is the direct consequence of policy decisions by the Biden administration to stop building the wall, to return to ‘catch and release,' and to end the ‘Stay in Mexico' policy.

"A number of us are releasing those photographs and releasing those videos so the American people can see what's happening here. This needs to stop. It is a crisis, it is a tragedy, and it is a man-made crisis. This was avoidable, this was preventable, and regardless of your party - Republican or Democrat - you should look at what's going on here, and say, ‘Enough is enough. This must stop.'"

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