The Obama “administration should have been ready,” Rep. Henry Cuellar said Sunday about the flood of undocumented children and women coming across the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Texas Democrat told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the overflowing detention centers are “processing them as quickly as possible,” but “the numbers are overwhelming.”
“Border patrol should move those individuals out in 72 hours and again, if you’re a mother with children, you’ll be put at a bus station, 500 a day just in south Texas that they’re releasing,” Cuellar said. “And if you’re a child, then of course they’re going to send you somewhere else.”
The border-state congressman continued: “There is an incentive that if you bring a child over here or a child by yourself, you’re going to be let go.”
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen a surge and we should have been ready for this surge. The administration should have been ready,” Cueller told CNN.
The Texas congressman called for changes to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, known as the TVPRA, a law that allows unaccompanied minors who aren’t from Mexico or Canada to not be deported but handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services to advise them on their legal rights.
Last week, President Obama called on congressional leaders to amend the law in order to fast-track deportation decisions but Cuellar pointed out to CNN that fast-tracking immigration cases will be a challenge because, “our immigration courts are backlogged.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced last week that President Obama plans to attend three Democratic fundraisers in Texas this week, but will not travel to the border.
CNN host Candy Crowley asked Congressman Cueller if he would like President Obama to visit the border.
“It would be nice for him to come down to the border, but again with all due respect, I think he still is one step behind. They knew this was happening a year ago, last year, and again they’re just not reacting fast enough at this time in my personal opinion,” he said.