In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Thursday, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., called the White House’s threat to “reduce” deportations of illegal aliens if Republicans didn’t vote for the recent Senate border and foreign aid bill “ridiculous”:

I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised that this White House would do something like this, considering they completely just opened the floodgates Day One.

One of President Joe Biden’s first actions in office on Jan. 20, 2021, was to suspend former President Donald Trump’s stricter border measures, like border wall construction and requiring alleged asylum-seekers to apply for asylum from outside the U.S. rather than entering the country illegally.

“We’re seeing the consequences of it now, you know, 9 million people here illegally,” Schmitt said. “This is willful. This is not an accident. This is on purpose. They’re an ‘open borders’ crowd.”

After dismantling Trump’s border measures via executive order, the Biden administration described the southern border as “secure” for over three years. The Daily Signal asked Schmitt why that messaging changed two months ago.

Schmitt simply said, “Polling.” He continued:

President Biden knows he’s at a real risk. I think this is now the No. 1 issue in front of Americans, even ahead of inflation and the economy, which are still big concerns for people, and rightfully so. But this unadulterated stream of people coming across the border, the signals that are sent—so obviously they’re not enforcing the law. But that sends a huge flashing red light to the people who are moving these folks, which are the cartels.

Schmitt described the immense threat of the Mexican drug cartels that daily smuggle across the border paying families, young gang members, and fentanyl, and that traffic women and children for sex rings. Most illegal border crossers are not turned back because Schmitt says the cartels are “coaching people what to say” in order to gain asylum, “and then you have essentially people released into the interior of the United States and given court order dates sometimes in the 2030s” for their asylum hearings.

The junior senator from Missouri mocked messaging from the Biden administration and liberal pundits that attempts to blame the border crisis on “those pesky MAGA Republicans and Donald Trump.”

“Nobody’s buying this,” Schmitt laughed. “It’s a total joke.”

As for beginning to fix the mess at the border, Schmitt recommended a “stay in Mexico” policy, where immigrants and asylum-seekers would be required to stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were approved by U.S. customs offices. 

He called the Venezuelan gang members who recently assaulted New York City police officers a “very real world example” of the need for stricter standards.

Schmitt questioned the legality of Biden’s threat to reduce Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations, as the decision to deport an individual is supposed to be made individually. “They’re willfully ignoring the law,” he said.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Commerce committees and the Joint Economic Committee, Schmitt said his biggest “red flag” concerning the recent waves of illegal immigrants was “the number of single adult males.”

“We’re seeing folks from the Middle East, China,” Schmit said, “and there are travel agencies that are popping up in Africa to move people here because they’re very well aware that anybody can come in right now.”

Schmitt told The Daily Signal that his constituents who had immigrated to the United States legally hate this illegal immigration crisis the most.

“They’re tired of this,” Schmitt recalled. “They don’t like to see this. It’s really an insult to them for following the law.”

He concluded by noting that this debate in Congress isn’t just “arguing about little things” like “marginal tax rates.” He described the tug-of-war in the Senate as “a couple votes away from packing the Supreme Court because [Democrats] want to get their way.”

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