The border city of Laredo, Texas was the scene this week of something that likely would have seemed impossible only ten months ago. Laredo leans heavily blue and they have a Democrat for a Mayor in the person of Pete Saenz. This has been a pretty rough year for Laredo in a number of ways beyond the ravages of the pandemic. His town has been overrun with illegal aliens, far more so than usual. On top of that, he’s been tasked with providing any number of services to support the efforts of Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security. These include providing aid, medical treatment, and transportation for thousands of migrants being “processed” after crossing the border illegally. His resources have been stretched to the breaking point by the Biden Border Crisis. This week he apparently reached the end of his rope, lashing out at the President’s lack of attention to the situation and even going so far as admitting that what Donald Trump did in terms of securing the border had worked. (Free Beacon)
The Democratic mayor of Laredo, Texas, slammed President Joe Biden’s immigration policy, alleging that his party has no plan to fix the southern border and has abandoned local communities in favor of massive spending proposals for other interest groups.
Mayor Pete Saenz says that for months many of his city’s public services have been forced to focus on providing humanitarian aid, medical services, and transportation for thousands of migrants who pass through Laredo. Those are jobs, he says, the federal government should handle—particularly as the Biden administration loosens immigration restrictions. The added threat of COVID-19 has led Saenz to admit reluctantly that former president Donald Trump’s policies benefited Laredo residents.
“We need to truly secure the border,” Saenz told the Washington Free Beacon in an exclusive interview. “It was working under Trump, call it whatever you want to call it, but it was working.”
Those had to be some tough words to choke out. But sometimes a dose of reality doesn’t come with a spoonful of sugar to make it go down easier.
Saenz went on to tell the Free Beacon that he hasn’t failed to notice the massive amounts of money his party is trying to spend in Washington on things like reducing carbon emissions and promoting social justice. But at the same time, there is no talk of increasing the budget for the CBP while their workload has increased by three or four times over normal levels. There is also no federal money or extra personnel coming his way to cover the costs of many of these services he’s being told to provide for the migrants.
The Mayor also notes a renewed surge in new COVID cases in his city since a flood of Haitians was shipped to him for processing. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise since DHS already admitted that they weren’t testing all of the people removed from under the Del Rio overpass. In addition to that, recent events have the Mayor and his citizens thinking a bit differently about Donald Trump’s border wall than they did in 2015 or even as recently as last year.
The border crisis has caused Saenz to reevaluate his own politics. The mayor in 2015 told then-candidate Donald Trump that a large wall across the southern border was not practical. He told NPR in 2019 that Trump’s proposal to order the Pentagon to construct fencing in Laredo would be less effective than the “virtual wall” backed by Biden. But, Saenz says, Laredo residents are growing tired of empty promises from Democrats, particularly as the city’s fire department is forced to serve as shuttle service for migrants who get dropped off by charities and federal agencies. Saenz has not heard from the Biden administration on any plans for a “virtual wall” or any other measure to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.
As the linked report shows, Laredo is one of the least diverse cities in the country with a population that is more than 90% Hispanic. And yet in 2020, Republicans doubled their turnout in the area. Listening to the reflections of Mayor Saenz, I have to wonder if the GOP’s prospects in the midterms next year haven’t just gotten a bit better.