FIRST ON FOX: Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales says the migrant rush in El Paso, Texas, appears to be the result of illegal migrants being told it was “Día de Los Migrants” – Day of the Migrants.
Gonzales spoke with Fox News Digital in a Monday phone interview after Sunday’s border rush that saw at least 1,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants charge at the border in an attempt to enter the United States.
The Texas Republican, who represents a large swath of the U.S.-Mexico border in Congress, said he was told on Sunday by border officials that the migrants who rushed the border were told that the U.S. was celebrating the “Day of the Migrants” and that they would be welcomed into the country at the port of entry.
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“They were told, and I’m trying to figure out by who, all indications point that it was cartel essentially feeding this information to the migrants, saying that yesterday was ‘Day of the Migrants’ and they were going to be allowed in the United States via the port of entry,” Gonzales told Fox News Digital.
“And they just essentially overran the port, at least on the Mexican side,” Gonzales continued. “And this is where a little bit of disinformation just gets spun and it becomes a dangerous situation for everybody.”
Gonzales saidpreventing further disinformation that would lead to future rushes needed to come from the top and that President Biden needs to “show action” with the border, adding that one “can’t just say words” when addressing the crisis.
The Texas Republican also said he believes “it’s time to take the gloves off and label cartels as terrorist organizations.”
“One thing that DHS needs to do is: folks that do not qualify for asylum need to get sent on a plane and not get flown to D.C. or to New York or Chicago. They didn’t get flown back to their country of origin,” Gonzales said.
“In this case, many of the migrants were from Venezuela, is what I’m being told. And you need to work with those host countries, and folks that do not qualify for asylum, send them back. If the president were to do those two things, this crisis will be on the road to recovery. If not, you’re just going to see people be more and more emboldened.”
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Gonzales also said he believes Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s threat of an “information campaign” against Republicans last week puts the U.S. and Mexico “on bad footing.”
“And it’s not good for neighbors to be on bad footing,” Gonzales said. “I look forward to visiting with the president, AMLO, later this week in Mexico City, and I’ll have a direct conversation on how we get both countries working together.”
“We need the United States to lead Mexico’s help in one, curbing the fentanyl that’s coming over and killing our kids, also curbing the human smuggling that is happening,” the Texas Republican continued.
“And, above all, Americans can’t be killed in broad daylight,” the congressman continued. “And I look forward to having that discussion with the president.”
Obrador on Thursday threatened to launch an “information campaign” in the U.S. against Republicans, telling Mexicans and Hispanics not to vote for them unless U.S. lawmakers change their treatment of Mexico – an apparent threat of election interference by the head of state in response to U.S. calls for action against cartels smuggling fentanyl across the border.
Sunday saw a group of at least 1,000 mainly Venezuelan illegal migrants rush the Paso Del Norte bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, and Mexico in an attempt to enter the United States.
Crowd control measures were used when the group of mainly Venezuelan migrants continued to press forward, though according to sources at the border, the efforts were thwarted.
Videos show migrants of all ages pressing toward the fenced border, with some putting their hands in the air to encourage others to continue moving forward.
Another video shows the moment the migrants pushed onto the bridge and began running for freedom, with a sign above that read, “Feliz Viaje,” or, happy travels.
In a third video, migrants were seen gathering on a smaller bridge, while others were observed lining up along the riverbank.
Customs and Border Protection increased manpower in the area on the U.S. side, while the Mexican military attempted to contain the incident on the southern side of the bridge.
Republicans have blamed the Biden administration on the increase in encounters after rolling back Trump-era policies like the Remain-in-Mexico policy, ending wall construction and narrowing interior ICE enforcement as reasons for the crisis.
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The Biden administration has pushed back on those accusations and have accused Republicans of failing to vote for more border funding and not supporting a sweeping immigration reform proposal introduced on day one of the administration.
In his State of the Union address, President Biden again appealed for Republicans to pass parts of the bill, but lawmakers have balked at the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which Democrats have indicated is a must.
Fox News Digital’s Greg Wehner, Bill Melugin, and Adam Shaw contributed reporting.