EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – He represents half of El Paso County and 40 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border in Congress. Yet U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, was noticeably absent when President Biden stepped off Air Force One in El Paso on Sunday to be briefed on the migrant crisis.
By contrast, Democratic House members Veronica Escobar, Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez – who also represent border districts in Texas – flew in with the president
“He was going to visit the district. I reached out to the team and said, ‘Hey, I want to be part of the visit…,’ and they essentially ghosted me,” Gonzales told Fox News Radio. “I don’t give a damn about being on Air Force One. I don’t care about pictures. I would have met him on the tarmac, I would have joined the motorcade, whatever. (I wanted) 5 minutes to have a conversation.”
Border Report reached out to the White House for comment and is awaiting a response.
Like Escobar, whose Texas Congressional District 16 abuts his District 23, Gonzales has coauthored immigration bills in the House. Just this week he reintroduced the Security First Act, which provides millions in funding for local law enforcement in communities where migrants pass through, and calls on designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
Gonzales also cosponsored the bipartisan, bicameral Border Solutions Act in 2021 with Cuellar and Sens. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and Democrat turned independent Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona. That bill called for hiring hundreds more Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officers, immigration judges and asylum officers.
Gonzales said the exclusion of Republican stakeholders from the president’s activities in El Paso – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was restricted to the sidelines on the tarmac of El Paso International Airport – shows Democrats aren’t interested in a bipartisan solution to the huge migrant surge of the past two years.
“They always talk about bipartisanship, blaming the Republicans for not wanting to have a conversation with them. Turns out it’s just complete B.S. So, it’s a little frustrating,” Gonzales told Fox this week.
The West Texas congressman said Biden took advantage of Republicans being tied up trying to elect a new House speaker to “put a checkmark” on showing up at the border.
“It was kid gloves, nothing but Democrats around him,” Gonzales said. “Obama never had a border like this. Clinton never had a border like this. Bush never had a border like this and Trump and his policies worked. (Trump) never had a border like this. […] This is policies they (the Biden administration) caused and clearly they don’t want to hear from anyone else, especially people who represent the border.”