The Democratic mayor of a Texas town along the U.S.-Mexico border is slamming President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party over their failure to secure the border, calling the deteriorating situation "an embarrassment for us as a country."
In a recent conversation with the Washington Free Beacon, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz charged his own political party with largely ignoring the crisis and abandoning the local border communities in favor of other interest groups.
With tens of thousands of migrants pouring into the country every month — often times bringing disease — the mayor even reluctantly acknowledged that things were much better for border communities like his under former President Donald Trump.
"We need to truly secure the border," Saenz told the Free Beacon. "It was working under Trump, call it whatever you want to call it, but it was working."
Yet instead of addressing the situation head-on, Democrats have opted to put forward trillions of dollars in federal spending that does little to bolster physical border security or support Customs and Border Protection operations. Meanwhile, the brunt of the migrant influx burden is being borne on border towns.
"We're spending billions of dollars on alternative things but immigration isn't given priority. Border Patrol isn't being funded to the extent that Border Patrol has to be funded," Saenz said. "Their workload has increased to three times or four, and yet they're not funded. So, that kind of leads me to think the Democrats have the same mentality [toward the Border Patrol] as defunding law enforcement, generally.
"The key, ultimately, is removing the incentive to come to the border and file for asylum," the mayor argued, adding that while he believes in the asylum process, it needs to be reformed.
To prevent influxes of migrants showing up at the border and overwhelming U.S. immigration enforcement, Saenz suggests asylum-seekers be processed virtually from their country of origin.
According to the Free Beacon, the border crisis has caused Saenz to rethink his own political perspective:
The mayor in 2015 told then-candidate Donald Trump that a large wall across the southern border was not practical. He told NPR in 2019 that Trump's proposal to order the Pentagon to construct fencing in Laredo would be less effective than the "virtual wall" backed by Biden. But, Saenz says, Laredo residents are growing tired of empty promises from Democrats, particularly as the city's fire department is forced to serve as shuttle service for migrants who get dropped off by charities and federal agencies. Saenz has not heard from the Biden administration on any plans for a "virtual wall" or any other measure to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.
"If Biden doesn't come out with implementing a virtual wall [soon], people here will be begging for a wall, a physical structure, simply because of his lack of attention to the border and especially the size of these surges," Saenz predicted.
He acknowledged that a physical wall would "deter or at least buy time, so to speak, for law enforcement."
"It's really an embarrassment for us as a country now," he added of the ongoing crisis. "You know we can do so much better."