President Joe Biden is under fire from Republicans for avoiding the southern border during an official trip this week to Arizona and New Mexico.
The president’s stop in Arizona on Tuesday coincided with a border ground hearing hosted by House Oversight Committee Republicans in the same state – in Cochise County. GOP lawmakers criticized fellow Democrats for refusing to participate in their on-court hearing and also criticized the administration’s inaction on the border crisis.
Representative Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., opened the hearing by stating that “none of my colleagues across the aisle decided to join us today, despite an open invitation. to participate”.
“You can’t know what’s happening on the southern border unless you’ve been here and talked to the people who live there,” the subcommittee chair continued.
The Grand Canyon is seen in flight from Air Force One, with President Joe Biden on board, en route to Grand Canyon National Park Airport
Migrants attempt to cross the border from Mexico to Eagle Pass, Texas on August 4, 2023
“While (President Biden) is also currently in Arizona, securing our border is once again low on his priority list. He stays on top of mine,’ tweeted Rep. Chuck Edwards, RN.C., who shared a video of him closing the border wall gate.
“More helicopter ‘leadership’ from President Biden,” tweeted Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “Visiting Arizona and New Mexico and yet no time to visit the border crisis it created.”
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told Republicans at the hearing that cartels are using social media to recruit Americans, including teenagers, to become “escape drivers.”
Several of the lawmakers accompanied Sheriff Dannels to inspect the border wall in the area which sees a ‘disproportionate amount of illicit fentanyl’ entering the United States
Another major problem in Cochise County is the high number of “military-aged men in camouflage walking through in the middle of the night,” Republicans say.
They do not voluntarily surrender to authorities and therefore endanger law enforcement in high-speed chases.
The hearing also came following reports on Tuesday morning that heavily armed Mexican cartel members crossed the border into Texas – and have yet to be apprehended.
Biden’s trip to border states also comes as sources told Fox News that more than 6,000 illegal migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol in the Tucson, RGV and Del Rio areas on Tuesday.
Additionally, Border Patrol is holding migrants in an outdoor cage in the scorching Arizona desert as officers attempt to deal with the influx of people illegally crossing into Mexico.
DailyMail.com footage shows people crammed into narrow benches as they seek shade to shield themselves from the scorching sun in an area where temperatures reach over 113F.
The site is in the remote desert, about two hours west of Tucson, Arizona. The region is at the heart of a surge in migrant arrivals, undermining the Biden administration which hopes its new immigration restrictions will have an impact.
Biden on Tuesday created a new national monument in Arizona that will protect sacred Native American ancestral sites around the Grand Canyon but block the expansion of uranium mining.
The new monument, called Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, will conserve nearly one million acres of public land around the canyon. It is the fifth monument Biden has named since becoming president, using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906.
The name means “where indigenous people roam” in the Havasupai language and “our ancestral footprints” in the Hopi language.
The monument is a reminder of a “new era” in which collaboration and stewardship with tribes is valued, said U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary.
“This will help ensure that Indigenous peoples can continue to use these areas for religious ceremonies, hunting and gathering plants, medicines and other materials, including some found nowhere else on Earth. “Haaland said.
As tribal leaders and environmentalists pushed for the designation, Republican lawmakers and the mining industry countered by pointing to the economic benefits of mining, adding that it was also a safety concern. national.
The monument site encompasses approximately 1.3% of the country’s known uranium reserves. Uranium is used to fuel commercial nuclear reactors that generate electricity and to produce isotopes used for medical, industrial and defense purposes.
Officials say there are significant resources in other parts of the country that will remain accessible. And existing mining claims in the area will not be affected by this designation, the White House said.
“Mining is prohibited for future development in this area. What the monument recognizes are existing rights that had been established previously,” said Biden National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi.
Migrants walk past large buoys used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande Tuesday, August 1, 2023
In 2012, the Department of the Interior, due to concerns about contamination of the water supply, placed a 20-year moratorium on the filing of new mining claims around Grand Canyon National Park.
The new designation of the monument will make this ban permanent.
Ranchers have also expressed concern that the designation could affect grazing and put restrictions on how they can use their property.
White House officials said existing uses of the land, including grazing and ranching, will continue as they are today. No private land will be affected by the monument, they said.
After Arizona, Biden traveled to Albuquerque on Wednesday, where he will explain how the fight against climate change has created new jobs.
He will then travel to Salt Lake City on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the PACT Act, which provides new benefits to veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances. He will also organize a re-election fundraiser in each city.