Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday demanded that President Joe Biden allow the press access to report on what he called the “humanitarian, national security, and public health crises at the southern border.” 

“Denying the press the ability to observe, film, and report on the conditions at the border is not openness or transparency—it is hiding the truth from the American people,” Cruz, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to the White House, adding that Americans deserve to see the crisis “with the help of reporters who are free and independent from your administration.”

Cruz and fellow Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn will lead a tour of the Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley with a group of 13 other lawmakers on Friday. Cruz is asking that reporters be allowed by the Biden administration to join them because “it is not enough for members of the Senate to see what is happening—the American people must see.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., led a similar border tour on March 15 with 11 other House Republicans in El Paso, Texas. He criticized the Biden administration’s decision to halt construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall

“[The president] can continue to deny it, but the only way to solve [the surge in attempted illegal border crossings] is to first admit what he has done, and if he will not reverse action, it’s going to take correct congressional action to do it,” McCarthy told reporters at a press conference after the tour. “And that’s why we’re here. We want to find solutions. Before we even came here, I sent a letter to the president to work together to solve this problem.” 

Cruz noted in his letter to Biden that Border Patrol agents are said to be apprehending 4,500 to 6,000 illegal aliens per day. To illustrate the scope of the problem now, the Texas senator wrote:

In 2019, former Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said, ‘I know that 1,000 [apprehensions per day] overwhelms the system, and I cannot begin to imagine what 4,000 a day looks like.’

Cruz has previously criticized the Biden administration for its immigration policies. The Texas Republican posted on Facebook in January that Biden was “encourag[ing] illegal immigration at the expense of American jobs and workers.”

The House of Representatives on March 18 passed the American Dream and Promise Act, which would allow more the 2.3 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program beneficiaries (illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors), as well as beneficiaries of certain temporary humanitarian programs, to gain permanent legal status and eventually U.S. citizenship.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday he thinks he is “close” to securing the Republican votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster and pass that legislation.

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