Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among the Republican senators visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week amid an increase in border crossings in recent months — mostly from unaccompanied minors seeking legal asylum — that has stretched federal resources.
The Maine senator is among more than a dozen Republicans joining Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn in southeastern Texas beginning Thursday afternoon. The group also plans to visit a temporary detention facility in the city of Donna on Friday, according to KRGV. A Collins spokesperson said the senator planned to observe the situation and meet with stakeholders.
The plight at the border has attracted attention from politicians on both sides of the aisle in recent weeks as U.S. Border Patrol has detained more than 11,000 children since the beginning of March, according to CNN. Unaccompanied children are supposed to remain in Border Patrol custody for less than 72 hours, but President Joe Biden’s administration has struggled with that timeline as the number of crossings has increased.
Republicans have been quick to blame the rise in crossings on Biden, who partially reversed a policy — enacted by former President Donald Trump and widely criticized by humanitarian groups — that required migrants wait for immigration hearings in Mexico.
Collins and 39 other Republican senators wrote the Government Accountability Office last week expressing concern about the influx in migrants and Biden’s decision to suspend construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, saying the president’s decision “contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario.”