President Joe Biden’s administration says it’s granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already in the country illegally, quickly making them eligible to work.
The move — along with promises to accelerate work permits for many other illegal immigrants — may appease Democratic leaders who have pressured the White House to help get illegals out of shelters.
However, conservatives have bashed the Biden administration for encouraging further illegal immigration and for failing to address concerns about human trafficking.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, invoked the section of the U.S. Constitution dealing with invasions, and he explicitly blamed Biden for the invasion.
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“I officially declared an invasion at our border because of Biden’s policies. We deployed the Texas National Guard, DPS & local law enforcement,” Abbott tweeted Thursday. “We are also repelling migrants.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., echoed Abbott’s critique… and gave an icy warning.
“How smart do you have to be to figure out what will happen next? If you give 470,000 Venezuelans work permits, you’re going to get another million to come,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday on Newsmax. “People will be attracted by that move.”
Graham considered Biden’s America to have “completely lost control of the southern border.”
Biden has “done everything but take an ad out all over the world: ‘Come to America. If you get here you’ll never leave,'” Graham said
On Wednesday, Biden’s Homeland Security Department announced plans to grant Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the country illegally as of July 31, making it easier for them to get authorization to work legally in the U.S.
That’s in addition to about 242,700 Venezuelans in the country illegally who already qualified for temporary status before Wednesday’s announcement.
Democratic officials in New York, Massachusetts, Chicago and elsewhere have complained about the strain that newly arrived illegals are putting on their resources, especially in New York, where the government is required to provide housing for anyone who needs it. The city is currently paying to house about 60,000 newly arrived illegal immigrants.
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The administration also said Wednesday it was also using Defense Department forces to support Homeland Security staff on the border. Homeland Security already uses about 2,500 National Guard troops to help Customs and Border Protection. In the news release, Homeland Security said up to 800 new active-duty troops would also be detailed to the border; they would be used for things like logistics to free up Customs officials for more front-line responsibilities.
Homeland Security said it was also taking other steps to deal with immigration, such as scaling up a process started in May to quickly remove families who are found to have no basis to stay in the country. The agency said it has also beefed up holding capacity along the southern border.
And it said it has increased the number of people expelled from the country. Since May 12, the agency said it has removed 253,000 people to a little over 150 countries around the world. That compares with 180,000 removed during the same period in 2019 — before the pandemic drastically alerted the government’s ability to expel migrants.
The number of migrants trying to cross the southern border is rising. That poses a severe challenge for the administration, which has struggled to show it is in control of the border in the face of Republican criticism. The city of Eagle Pass, which borders Mexico along the Rio Grande in southern Texas, announced a state of emergency Wednesday due to a “severe undocumented immigrant surge.”
Or, as Abbott would call it, an “invasion.”
On the border, a spiraling situation has resulted in shocking videos of human waves streaming into the country. Take a look —
BREAKING: One of the largest mass illegal crossings we have ever seen took place in Eagle Pass, TX this morning, w/ Border Patrol sources telling us over 2,200 people crossed there since midnight. It happened right next to the port of entry, as illegal immigrants continue to… pic.twitter.com/NDFX17r4vU
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) September 18, 2023
FOX News sources capture a FerroMex train bursting with migrants out of Zacatecas heading to our southern border right now… cheering and clearly not heeding the message: “do not come”@FoxNews pic.twitter.com/YflMwXrWqu
— Griff Jenkins (@GriffJenkins) September 17, 2023
The Associated Press contributed to this article.