Despite inaction among House leaders Thursday to vote on a border bill before Congress’ five-week summer vacation, Republicans continue to make claims that the Obama administration is behind the recent surge of immigrants in the country’s southwestern region.
Tens of thousands of undocumented children have been apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border since October, most of them fleeing violence and instability at home in Central America. The surge has escalated into both a humanitarian crisis and a political challenge for the Obama administration. Yet Democrats and Republicans haven’t agreed on a bipartisan solution to fix the current situation. The Senate on Wednesday advanced a $2.7 billion emergency spending bill to address the crisis. But House leaders failed to vote on a separate measure before they left Washington on Thursday for summer recess, despite some lawmakers pushing to return the kids to their originating countries as soon as possible.
Republicans condemn President Barack Obama for creating the immigration influx at the border. Some GOP members believe Obama has invited the children to the border with a promise of asylum in the United States. The GOP-led House this week approved a lawsuit against him for making various recent decisions without first consulting Congress.
Here’s what the right has said about the influx of immigrants at the country’s border:
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
The former 2012 presidential candidate claimed that Obama wants to bring tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors into the country to make them wards of the state and use them in medical experiments. She connected the border crisis to the right’s belief that foster children are being used for federally funded medical experiments.
“Now President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens, to the country, and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system,” Bachmann said this week during an interview with “WallBuilders Live.”
“We can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a ward of the state can’t say ‘no,’ a little kid can’t say ‘no’ if they’re a ward of the state. So here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say ‘no.’ It’s sick,” she added.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
The governor, who has been highly critical of the White House’s response to the border situation, claimed that Obama is somehow orchestrating the crisis.
“We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and then into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?” Perry said last month on Fox News. He then reiterated his allegations during an interview with ABC News, suggesting the Obama administration has “some ulterior motive.”
Perry, who is openly considering a 2016 presidential bid, also compared the influx of immigrants to Hurricane Katrina that killed more than 1,800 Americans and nearly destroyed New Orleans. His comments, also used by other Republicans, were meant to portray Obama as out of touch in the same way that former President George W. Bush was considered to be when he flew over Louisiana as tens of millions suffered in the aftermath of the storm.
Perry, who met with Obama to discuss the crisis, last week requested as many as 1,000 service members from the Texas National Guard deploy to the border to assist with security.
Iowa Rep. Steve King
The congressman this week said that immigrant families were providing their daughters with birth control pills before they journeyed along the “rape path” to the U.S. border.
“This human tragedy and calamity started because there’s this huge magnet created by the president’s policies. These families are sending their daughters up through 2,000 miles of Central America, down a channel of people who, between 30 and 70% of them, will be raped along the way. And that is a human tragedy,” King said during an interview with CNN. He also blamed Obama for the “man-caused disaster.”
King introduced an amendment last month that would reverse the White House’s delayed deportation of DREAMers, who are young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. He said that legalizing undocumented immigrants is illogical because, for every valedictorian DREAMer, there are 100 more who carry drugs across the border.
Prominent Republicans slammed King for his comments, including House Speaker John Boehner and outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey
The longtime physician earlier this month expressed his fear that the ongoing immigration crisis could introduce American citizens to Ebola, a deadly virus. He wrote a letter to Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling on him to act immediately to assess the public risk posed by immigrants.
“Reports have indicated that several border agents have contracted diseases through contact with the unaccompanied minors. As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control,” Gingrey wrote in the letter.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. But all cases of human illness or human death related to Ebola have occurred in Africa. No deaths from the hemorrhagic fever have been documented within the borders of the United States.
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks
The Republican leader believes Obama welcomes immigrants into the country in an attempt to turn them into Democratic voters.
“The president does not want to fix the problem. The president supports the surges in illegal alien children and other illegal aliens coming to our country, again, because he sees this as the equivalent of a Democratic Party voter registration drive,” Brooks said Tuesday after House leaders unveiled their plan to offer $659 million in emergency funds, a measure that falls far short of Obama’s appeal for $3.7 billion.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee blamed the Obama administration for exploiting immigrant children to advance an amnesty agenda.
“Hang on to your hat, because here’s the issue: Barack Obama has orchestrated this newest ‘crisis’ in order to overload the system with the intention of ‘fixing’ the problems his own policies create – by fiat, and that infamous phone and pen; screw the rule of law. He’s warned you by proudly claiming his executive orders can bypass the peoples’ representatives and obviously ignore the will of the people,” she posted to Facebook in June.
“This exploitation of foreigners’ children is an inhumane ploy to entice families to break laws by literally shoving kids across one of Obama’s infamous and irrelevant lines, with assurance that parents, aunties, step-uncles and third cousins twice removed will get to cut in line too – that sacred line that previously led law abiding, hardworking immigrants to build this great nation. Barack Obama will keep phoning in and penning the message that he will NOT secure borders, so, hey, extended undocumented relatives, you’re free to join the kids being used and abused to snag that golden ticket,” she added.
In the same post, Palin also said she agreed with “the liberals’ war whoop.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
This Republican blamed “Obama’s lawlessness” for the influx of children at the border, citing the president’s 2012 executive decision that continues to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country and work temporarily.
“Unfortunately for President Obama, following the constitutional structure is apparently too cumbersome. One of the consequences we’re seeing on the border is a humanitarian crisis that is a direct consequence of Obama’s lawlessness,” Cruz said.
“The cause of this crisis is the promise of amnesty,” he said during an interview this month with Fox News.
The senator also criticized the president last year for politicizing immigration reform.