Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-5) authored the letter and its signers include Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX-36), Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), Troy Nehls (R-TX-2), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24), Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1).
“There is a crisis at our southern border. It is critical that our leaders recognize the severity of the circumstances and respond accordingly,” the members wrote to Biden.
“Your administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws has encouraged countless migrants to make the treacherous journey across our border. We urge you to recognize that an immigration crisis is underway and reinstate a national emergency concerning our southern border.”
Alluding to the fact that unaccompanied children are vulnerable to drug smugglers and human traffickers, they added, “If you do not act swiftly, there will be unnecessary deaths at our southern border.”
The letter also encouraged Biden to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, a Trump administration policy that required illegal immigrants to wait in Mexico while their cases were pending.
According to the most recent figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in January there were 78,000 enforcement encounters, including with both accompanied and unaccompanied minors, family unit aliens, and single adults.
The updated figure is 74,000 for December, reflecting a steady trend of more enforcement encounters since the steep drop-off that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the current uptick predates Biden’s election and inauguration, the number of enforcement encounters in January was the highest CBP has reported since July 2019, when there were 82,000 reported.
When the CBP announced its January statistics, the agency attributed the increase to turmoil in other countries caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as “inaccurate perceptions of shifts in immigration and border security policies.”
On January 12, prior to Biden’s inauguration, Trump said during a visit to Texas that there would be a surge in illegal immigration if the new president changed course on immigration.
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Canton) filed legislation in the Texas House on Thursday that proposes using state personnel and resources to finish the border wall.
Gooden’s letter was also signed by Reps. Gregory Murphy (R-NC-3), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-4), Jim Banks (R-IN-3), John Joyce (R-PA-13), Mo Brooks (R-AL-5), Matthew Rosendale (R-MT), Neal Dunn (R-FL-2), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-3), Yvette Herrell (R-NM-2), Steve DesJarlais (R-TN-4), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14), Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ-4), Gregory W. Steube (R-FL-17), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14), Andy Harris (R-MD-1), James Comer (R-KY-1), Robert Aderholt (R-AL-4), Rick Allen (R-GA-12), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), John Rutherford (R-FL-4), and Tom McClintock (R-CA-4).
The full letter can be found below.