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U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson said she wants the president, vice president and House speaker to visit the U.S./Mexico border, as she did, and talk to overworked officials and witness the "human tragedy" of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
The Marion Republican said she heard of "violent encounters, human trafficking and drug smuggling" at the border after touring a customs and immigration facility and speaking with Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement.
"An agent told me he'd been with Border Control 20 years, and these are the worst conditions he's faced," Hinson said during a Friday call with reporters. "They were very clear their resources are strapped. They are not equipped to handle the emboldened traffickers."
In a Twitter video posted Thursday, Hinson called on President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to visit the border. Biden in March put Harris in charge of working with Central American countries on the issue.
Monthly migrant apprehensions at the Mexico border have been climbing, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. There were 172,331 "enforcement encounters" at the border in March, surpassing the previous high of 144,116 in May 2019 during the Trump administration.
On Friday's call, Hinson criticized the Biden administration for undoing many of Trump's border policies, echoing other Republicans who have blamed Biden for the increase in migrants.
"We need to reinstate common-sense policies and enforce them, stop catch-and-release and restart border wall construction … and more boots on the ground," Hinson said.
The 1st District congresswoman said she favors bipartisan immigration reform, such as work visas for farmworkers in places like Iowa.
"Both parties have failed on immigration, and it's time for Congress to get to work on fixing it," she said, and quit “kicking the can down the road.”
Hinson also said during her Friday call she would be getting her first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday at a Hy-Vee.
"I'm excited to get my vaccine," Hinson said. "It's safe and effective, and I want to encourage anyone who wants to get the vaccine to get it."
Hinson is the last of Iowa's congressional delegation to be vaccinated, but said she was waiting until everyone in Iowa was eligible for the vaccines, which happened April 5.