McCarthy seeks Biden meeting after ‘alarming’ border numbers, warns against 'mass amnesty' push
Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin reports on the latest.
FIRST ON FOX: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is requesting a meeting with President Biden in the wake of "alarming" border numbers which showed more than 192,000 migrant encounters in September.
"I am writing to raise my strongest concern once again regarding the crisis on our southern border and to request an urgent meeting to discuss this crisis," McCarthy wrote to Biden in a letter Saturday, obtained by Fox News.
McCarthy wrote to Biden after new numbers by Custom and Border Protection (CBP) showed that there was only a slight decrease in migrant encounters in September from the more than 200,000 encountered in July and August.
It means that there were more than 1.7 million encounters in Fiscal Year 2021, marking a new annual record. Republicans have been sounding the alarm over not only the numbers -- but also fears about suspects on the terror watch list getting past overwhelmed Border Patrol agents.
"These statistics are alarming," McCarthy said. "CBP has arrested over 1.4 million individuals illegally crossing the border since you took office, and the total number of encounters this fiscal year is at an all-time high. There is no question there is an unprecedented crisis, which I am determined to work with your administration to solve."
The Biden administration has acknowledged that the situation is a challenge, while rarely calling it a crisis, but has blamed the surge on factors including the shutting down of legal asylum pathways by the Trump administration. It has also focused on "root causes" like poverty and violence in Central America.
Republicans, meanwhile, have pointed to the ending of Trump-era policies like border wall construction and the Migrant Protection Protocols -- which kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited their hearings.
Additionally, GOP lawmakers have also pointed to efforts by congressional Democrats to include either a pathway to citizenship or some form of legal status for those already in the country illegally in a proposed budget reconciliation bill.
While those efforts have so far been shot down by the Senate parliamentarian, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, this week outlined a "Plan C" that would use parole to grant legal status to approximately eight million illegal immigrants.
Although such proposals would be unlikely to apply to any new illegal immigrants, Republicans have stated that such proposals would act as yet another pull factor drawing migrants north.
McCarthy on Saturday warned Biden that such inclusions in the bill -- which would not need Republican support to pass -- would only exacerbate the crisis.
"As the Republican Leader in the House of Representatives, I am opposed to any mass amnesty provisions as part of the reconciliation bill currently being debated among members of your party," he said. "By passing amnesty and other federal benefits for illegal immigrants into law, you will be incentivizing even larger numbers of illegal migration. This policy would make the border crisis even worse."
McCarthy concluded his letter by stating that the border crisis "transcends party lines" and will "require us working together to solve it."
"It starts with a recognition of the crisis and a willingness to solve it," he said.
Fox News' Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.