Live

Watch CBSN Live

All federal employees grappling with migrant crisis should get COVID vaccine, former GOP lawmaker says

Will Hurd on border crisis, causes of illegal immigration
Will Hurd on border crisis, causes of illegal... 11:23

A former House representative who was once the only Republican whose district included part of the Southern border is calling for immediate action to grapple with the worsening migrant crisis.

"First and foremost, make sure every official that is dealing in these situations has had the vaccine" Will Hurd said on "CBSN" Wednesday. "That's No. 1 and I don't know what the status of that is."

The Biden administration has asked migrants looking to claim asylum in the United States to turn back as the relaxing of Trump-era immigration enforcement has led to a surge of people that has overwhelmed border facilities

The rise in the number of people entering the country, particularly minors, has led to holding facilities being overcrowded and reports of children standing shoulder-to-shoulder and sleeping on gym mats with only a mylar blanket for warmth. 

"You see those pictures, it's terrible, and nobody wants a child to be in a situation like that for any length of time, let alone multiple days. But unfortunately these are the same kinds of conversations we were having back in 2017," Hurd said.

The moderate Republican, who represented Texas' 23rd district from 2015–2021, believes the unfolding crisis is not a novel one.

"This is what happened two years ago and this is also what happened, I believe it was in 2007 when we had another surge. This problem, we should have foresaw that it was coming. This is something that has been an issue for quite some time," he said. 

The former lawmaker blamed a number of factors for the unfolding crisis, including the lack of opportunity and high rates of poverty and crime in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. 

He also blamed human smugglers for "not telling people that they are going to be housed with 4,000 people in a facility that should only handle 230."

"So those are some of the root causes and the fact that early on in this administration they gave a mixed message about illegal immigration, helps with that surge," Hurd said.

A long-term solution, Hurd suggested, could lie in a broad economic strategy. 

"We need an economic plan that lasts for at least 10 years to address those root causes which are preventing people from coming here," he said. "It's going to be a fraction of the cost to solve the problem there before it hits part of our borders."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.