U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) called on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the southern U.S. border where security gaps are occurring due to the lack of border agents.
Feenstra recently visited the southern border in Texas with Rep. Tony Gonzales for an aerial tour of Big Bend National Park by Presidio and met with border patrol.
"Vice President Harris, who was tasked with this, hasn't been down there at all yet," Feenstra said in an interview with the Daily. "I am begging her. She's got to go down to the border because you don't understand it until you get down there."
Since day one, the issue of immigration has been at the forefront of the Biden administration's agenda, but according to Feenstra, there is a humanitarian and security crisis taking place as a result of changing policy.
Whereas McAllen, Texas, tends to host immigrants seeking asylum, Feenstra described Big Bend as the region the "bad actors" pass through when trafficking illegal drugs into the United States. Border patrol agents reported concerns of border security at Big Bend in recent months.
Feenstra said much of the border patrol forces have been relocated to areas like McAllen to process the influx of arrivals. As a result, border patrol agents told Feenstra they are desperate for help to decrease the number of individuals crossing the border with contraband.
"These are the people that don't want to be caught. These are the people who are either carrying contraband or have a previous criminal history," Feenstra said, echoing Big Bend border agents. "These are the bad actors."
While attempting to prevent drug trafficking, border agents reported a need for increased technology and air support. Feenstra said the cartels are well-experienced and often watch border patrol so they are able to move the drugs.
Border patrol agents reported for every six individuals they detain, four successfully cross the southern border. Feenstra said in the last four months, border patrol agents seized more fentanyl than in all of 2020.
"Obviously, we have a humanitarian crisis in the southern tip, but now, we have a massive crisis that will affect Iowa because these drugs are moving into the Midwest, the cocaine and fentanyl, and we are starting to hear that from our law enforcement," Feenstra said.
Feenstra said the Biden administration needs to understand how devastating this could be for the country.
Jacob Ludwig, senior in economics, said he wouldn’t label the increase in arrivals as a crisis but instead as a product of the past administration's immigration management.
“We are seeing something that the previous administration should have seen coming, and I think the Biden administration is doing their best to handle what was left of it,” Ludwig said.
Considering the warmer season and low border crossings during the pandemic, Ludwig said the numbers represent a predictable trend and aren’t abnormal.
"The humanitarian crisis is just massive, and if they want compassion, well, we are not getting it," Feenstra said. "Vice President Harris and President Biden, I am begging them, go to the border and see what is happening. That's the first step, but you have to take the first step before you can do anything."