Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., blasted the Biden adminstration Tuesday for telling Cubans seeking freedom not to come to the United States, while allowing thousands of migrants to enter the U.S. through the southern border.
“Think about what a disgusting message that was by the Biden administration to tell people from Cuba not to come here when they’ve opened up the southern border,” said GOP Whip Scalise, noting some people on the terrorist watch list have tried to cross into the United States by way of the southern border.
Scalise’s comments to reporters at the Capitol Tuesday come after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last week that those fleeing Cuba or Haiti by sea would not be allowed into the U.S. – and would either be returned or, if they were found to have a fear of persecution, referred to a third country.
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” Mayorkas said at a press conference. “To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking.”
“Allow me to be clear. If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” he added
Both countries have been hit by political unrest in recent days. Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated and the country, which was suffered instability and insecurity for years, has reached out to the U.S. for military assistance. And Cuba has been rocked by protests against the authoritarian communist regime over high prices, medical shortages and other economic conditions.
Meanwhile, the southern border has been inundated with a flood of migrants seeking asylum in the United States, with many not being turned away, but rather processed and given immigration court dates and released into the interior of the United States.
In June alone, there were nearly 190,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Friday — yet another rise in what were already sky-high border numbers, and bringing the total number of encounters in fiscal year (FY) 2021 to more than 1 million.
While most adults and some migrant family units are being turned away, many migrant families are not being expelled, and neither are unaccompanied children.
Scalise said Biden “needs to get his priorities straight” and help the Cuban people trying to seek freedom.
“What kind of message is that when he’s opened up the southern border to people that are on the terrorist watchlist,” Scalise said. “President Biden needs to get his priorities straight as it relates to standing up against tyranny, standing up against socialism, and protecting America’s southern border from drug cartels.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.