U.S. Representative Michael Burgess (R-Flower Mound) joined Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz at a press conference at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland. (Screengrab via Texas Tribune livestream)
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott blamed the Obama administration for what they described as a failure to strictly enforce immigration laws. The two Republican politicians made their remarks at a press conference this morning while discussing the escalating number of unaccompanied minors who have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The press conference was held after Cruz and Abbott toured the converted barracks at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland that is currently sheltering up to 1,200 minors who have made the perilous journey northward from Central America.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), over 47,000 unaccompanied children have been taken into custody along the southwest border during the first eight months of fiscal year 2014. That’s an increase of 92 percent from the 24,493 minors apprehended during the entire previous fiscal year. You can read the Current's recent coverage of the Lackland shelter here.
Cruz claims that the influx of undocumented immigrant minors is a result of what he calls Obama’s “amnesty.”
“In 2012, President Obama lawlessly granted amnesty to some 800,000 people here illegally who entered as children, and the direct consequence of that lawlessness, that amnesty, is that we have seen the number of children taking the incredible risks that are entailed with coming across the border grow exponentially.”
Cruz referenced Obama’s 2012 executive action to provide “DREAMers” temporary relief from deportation in response to the failed passage of the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children with a path to citizenship.
As was previously reported by the Current, Cecilia Muñoz, a policy aide in the Obama administration, stated that the majority of these unaccompanied children made the dangerous trek to the U.S. border to flee violence and dire economic conditions that are prevalent in their home countries. Many of these children were also trying to reconnect with family already in the U.S. Most were unaware of the potential benefits of Obama’s change in immigration policy.
State Senator Wendy Davis, who is the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, joined to calls of Republican lawmakers for a special legislative session to address the unprecedented immigration issue. She also suggested Governor Rick Perry declared a state of emergency so that the state can direct more resources toward border security. Perry and other state leaders recently authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety to spend $1.3 million a week to address border security.