WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Fred Keller this week joined Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01), Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM-02), and six other Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a trip to the southern border to hear from border patrol, farmers and ranchers, and local officials at various stops in El Paso, Texas and Doña Ana and Luna counties in New Mexico.
Keller reportedly spoke to law enforcement at Border Patrol Station 1 about the difficulties posed by the ongoing migrant surge. In the El Paso sector, recidivism is at a staggering 44 percent. Border patrol agents are currently stretched dangerously thin he says adding that they are tasked with serving as social workers and detention guards in addition to patrolling 260 miles of the border.
Inside the processing facility, unaccompanied children of all ages were being held and processed by agents.
While touring the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Doña Ana, New Mexico, Keller and his colleagues spoke to another group of agents who allegedly expressed that they have not received guidance from the Biden administration on how to address the surge of migrants crossing the border.
In Columbus, New Mexico, local farmers and ranchers attended a roundtable meeting with Keller to explain the challenges of living and working along the border. Those in attendance gave their firsthand accounts of ranchers reportedly being kidnapped and beaten by gang and cartel members.
“These are the people not trying to get caught. These aren’t the little kids who are turning up for asylum. That’s not what we have. That’s not what we’re facing,” one rancher reportedly said.
“I don’t know what needs to take place to get this administration to wake up and see what is going on is wrong and it needs to stop,” added another.
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Following the roundtable, Keller and his colleagues visited the ranch of a family where construction of the border wall was halted. Down the road, miles of border wall steel already funded and authorized for construction by Congress laid in pieces said Keller.
He then joined the Border Patrol Council on Monday night to tour a remote portion of the border wall west of El Paso. It was here where Keller says smugglers recently dropped three and five-year-old children from the top of a nine-foot section of the border wall.
The congressman returned to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.