Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, took aim at a Republican-backed immigration measure on Thursday, using a photo captured during President Biden’s tenure as vice president that showed unaccompanied minors in cages to argue that the bill was “extreme and wrong.”
The image — increased in size and placed on a poster alongside Garcia as she spoke from the House floor in opposition to the Secure the Border Act of 2023 — was originally captured as early as 2014, according to an article from The Columbus Dispatch.
The June 2014 article, which was written during former President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, used the image showing immigrant children being held in cages with foil blankets in an effort to highlight the “stations’ crowded conditions.”
Garcia’s poster that featured the image included the statement: “House Republicans’ child deportation act is extreme and wrong.”
Texas Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia’s poster that featured the image included the statement: “House Republicans’ child deportation act is extreme and wrong.” (Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas)
“This bill is extreme and wrong,” Garcia said. “This bill, in no way, secures the border. In fact, it would only make security worse. It is an onslaught on asylum seekers and those who flee poverty, hunger, and violence — including unaccompanied minors and families with children. It exploits challenges at our border for political points, and adds to the suffering of those who are coming to our country seeking safety and a better life.”
Despite Garcia’s comments, the bill would require renewed efforts to build a border wall, more border patrol agents and more financial incentives for them to do their job, an end to catch and release policies, and other initiatives intended to better manage mass migration at the southern border.
“We all expect our government to effectively manage our borders and thoroughly vet those who seek to enter as refugees to join their family already in the country or to work — we all agree on that,” Garcia said. “But instead what we see is children are in danger, families are separated or detained and people are dying. We need reform and we need it now.”
Immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. walk along the border fence on their way to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the early morning hours after crossing from Mexico in Yuma, Arizona, on Thursday. (Mario Tama)
In recent years, primarily during former President Donald Trump’s term in the White House, Democrats have targeted Republicans on a number of different issues pertaining to immigration.
Earlier this month, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blamed Republicans for the “chaotic” situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming that GOP lawmakers “literally refuse to act” ahead of the House’s Thursday vote on sweeping border security legislation.
“The president has been dealing with a system that has been broken for decades,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “Since day one, he put forth a comprehensive immigration plan, legislation, and he is using the tools that are in front of him to deal with the challenge at the border.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“Republicans in Congress, in particular, refuse — they literally refuse to act,” she asserted. “They refuse to come to the middle and meet us in the middle and come up with a real solution.”
Garcia’s comments came amid the end of the Title 42 public health order on Thursday. The public health order was put into place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border for public health reasons. In March, nearly half of all migrant encounters ended in a Title 42 expulsion.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed reporting