GREAT FALLS — U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) spent Wednesday in McAllen and Brownsville in Texas touring the southern border.
On his way home Wednesday night, the Montana Republican held a conference call to let members of the press know what he saw.
“This has created an out of control, porous southern border that is a threat to our national security,” said Daines when talking about the migrant surge.
Daines says decisions by the Biden Administration are to blame for problems at the southern border.
While in Texas, Daines also visited a migrant processing facility and was briefed by border protection officials.
“We’re seeing about 11,000 crossings per day. In fact, the first 10 days of October, illegal crossings are up about 17%,” said Daines.
Daines says border agents told him there have been more than seven million apprehensions on the border since President Biden took office. He says since that time, more than one and a half million migrants have been classified as “got aways,” people who agents have been able to see, but were never able to apprehend.
Daines says border agents told him migrants are not just coming from Latin America. He says in the last seven days they have apprehended individuals from 28 Middle Eastern countries.
“Since the first of October, border patrol agents have apprehended individuals from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Yemen,” said Daines.
Daines says President Biden’s suspension of building a border wall is one reason for the crossings.
Last week, the administration announced it will waive 26 federal laws to allow for construction of part of the wall in Texas. The President told reporters he doesn’t believe the wall is effective in controlling the surge of migrants, but his hands are tied.
"The border wall money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn't. They wouldn't,” said President Biden. “In the meantime, there's nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it's appropriated. I can't stop that."
“That’s a good start. 20 miles is not sufficient but that’s a good start,” said Daines. “So I support what he wants to do there.”
Daines also addressed the recent bloodshed in Israel saying the U.S. must stand by its ally in the Middle East.
He says Iran is a financial backer of both Hamas and Hezbollah and that the Biden administration should freeze $6-billion that was part of a deal to release five Americans.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) is also in favor of freezing Iranian assets.
In a statement this week, Tester said, “As American intelligence officials continue to investigate the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, we should review our options to hold Iran accountable for any support they may have provided. At a minimum, we should immediately freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and explore other financial tools we have at our disposal.”