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A group of Republican House members traveled to the Texas-Mexico border and detailed the “emotional anguish” Border Patrol agents incur due to the rampant human trafficking and drug smuggling, while urging Democrats and President Biden to take action before Title 42 ends on May 23.
The group, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., toured the border Monday with agents who he said are “pushed to their limits.” They pleaded to Biden and other House Democrats to extend Title 42, a public health order set to expire in 30 days that has been used since March 2020 to quickly expel a majority of migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We welcome and want to ask the Democrats to join us,” the Republican leader urged. The Republicans are pushing for their Democratic colleagues to sign a discharge petition to bring a bill to the floor to force a vote on maintaining Title 42, which requires the support of 218, or the majority, of House members.
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“We just need a handful of Democrats to join to bring the bill up for a vote. So if you believe Title 42 shouldn’t be lifted, don’t say it in a press release, say it in an action that can make a difference,” said McCarthy.
The trip by the lawmakers coincided with the recent death of a Texas national guard specialist, who drowned while trying to save the lives of migrants making the trek from Mexico.
Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans, 22, went missing near Eagle Pass Friday while attempting to rescue two migrants who “appeared to be drowning while crossing the river from Mexico into the U.S.,” according to the Texas Military Department. His body was found Monday.
Evans “did not die in vain,” the members said, praising his heroism and quick action and offering condolences to his grandmother.
House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said that the boat border patrol captains who led their tour of the river were the ones who recovered the body of Evans earlier in the day.
“Think about the emotional turmoil, the emotional anguish that these border patrol agents are going through every day, in addition to the National Guard and their families. Our hearts break. House Republicans are unified in securing the border and providing the support we need to our border patrol in our communities in south Texas and across our country,” Stefanik said.
McCarthy also slammed the Biden administration’s policy to provide cell phones to illegal immigrants, which he witnesses at the border. The White House confirmed last month that illegal immigrants are being provided with electronic devices, notably cell phones, in an effort by the administration to “track” and “check in” with them as they await immigration court proceedings.
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McCarthy was also asked about reporting last week by the New York Times, which included a leaked audio recording, in which the GOP leader said he was going to recommend the former president resign following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
A reporter asked him if he was untruthful in denying the Times reporting, when the tapes showed that he told his GOP colleagues that he was going to ask Trump to resign.
He responded: “The reporter never asked me that question. The reporter came to me the night before he released the book. And my understanding was he was saying that I asked President Trump to resign. No, I never did, and that’s what I was answering.”
“If you’re asking now, did I tell my members that were going to ask, ask them if I told any of them if I said that to President Trump, the answer is no. I’m glad you asked that question. But what’s more important than something that happened 15 months ago on a private conversation with about four other people is what’s happening here right now.”
Trump and McCarthy remain on good terms despite the newly released tapes, according to a source who confirmed to Fox News Digital that the two spoke on the phone last week.
“You asked that question on the same day that we found Bishop Evans’ body. You asked that question on the same day in less than a month, just a month from now, that they’re going to lift Title 42,” he said. “I don’t think that’s what the American people are asking. I think they want to know about what’s going to happen here and how we’re going to secure the border,” he concluded.
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McCarthy said Biden should visit the border before terminating Title 42 saying. “The president owes it to the American people to at least find the truth before he makes a decision,” he said.
McCarthy and Stefanik were joined by GOP Reps. Gary Palmer of Alabama, Tony Gonzales of Texas, Randy Weber of Texas, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Chip Roy of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee and Blake Moore of Utah.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.