“I’ve always said, when you look at border issues, you gotta look at three factors. Yes, immigration activists. Second of all, they’ve got to listen to these border communities, when they’re not listening to border communities and that’s one of the things that I pushed very hard,” Cuellar told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an exclusive interview.
“The other thing is, they have to also listen to the men and women in green and blue and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. They need to do that. So I think what’s happening is that they don’t want to upset the immigration activists and I know that because I had somebody tell me that one time, but I think that’s wrong.”
Cuellar suggested that he has moved on from trying to convince the White House to pay more attention to border security because his pleas are falling on deaf ears.
There were about 207,000 encounters nationwide with illegal aliens along the southern border in June, according to statistics provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. There have been more than 2 million encounters so far this fiscal year.
Early in the president’s administration, Cuellar called on Biden to seek the advice of jurisdictions along the border to address illegal crossings. He urged Biden to visit the border and take more aggressive action to deter illegal crossings.
Cuellar and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) stood apart from many of their Democratic colleagues and signed a letter opposing the end of the Title 42 public health order, which has been the basis for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant expulsions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuellar has also parted ways with his Democratic colleagues on abortion. Though he opposed the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Cuellar considers himself pro-life and limits his support of abortion to cases such as rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
The congressman narrowly bested a progressive challenger, Jessica Cisneros, in a runoff that had been triggered after Cuellar failed to win a majority in the Democratic primary. He had received less than 800 votes more than Cisneros.
In the runoff, Cuellar defeated Cisneros by less than 300 votes.
He faces Republican Cassy Garcia in the November general election. While Cuellar’s district is rated D-57% on The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, South Texas is generally trending toward the GOP.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."