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Ann Wagner travels to southern border: ‘It’s only going to get worse’

Last month, Congresswoman Ann Wagner took a flight from Washington, D.C., to Texas for a visit to the southern border. It was her second trip to the border as a U.S. congresswoman — the first during the Biden administration — and she left with a dire warning. 

“What we saw, it was heartbreaking, absolutely devastating. And it’s only going to get worse,” Wagner said in an interview with The Missouri Times following her trip. 

Wagner traveled to the border in early April with nine other representatives, including Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis, and Texas Congressman Michael McCaul. The delegation stayed for two days, speaking to Border Patrol agents and touring a holding facility in Donna. 

Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children were taken into U.S. custody along the southern border in March — setting a new record. Overall, officials took more than 172,000 migrants into custody in March. Officials within the Biden administration have blamed the previous president for the crisis and have touted efforts to cut down on the number of children being held in cramped facilities amid the pandemic. 

But Wagner, a Republican considering a run for U.S. Senate, placed the blame on President Joe Biden. 

“The field agents I spoke with — and they were 20-year veterans of Border Patrol — not only do they feel abandoned by their government … 40 percent of their field agents have been called back in to process illegal migrants, a lot of them children, and they really are child caregivers,” Warner said. “This is honestly a crisis that is completely and totally Joe Biden’s fault. He needs to own it, and he needs to fix it. It is these open border policies that really have encouraged so many illegal migrants to come and cross the border.” 

Wagner specifically pointed to three Trump-era policies that she would like to see reinstated to alleviate the issues arising at the border:

  1. An agreement with Mexico for migrants to come and apply for asylum in the U.S. but must remain in Mexico before called for processing. 
  2. An agreement with the three Northern Triangle countries in Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) for migrants to apply for asylum in Central America before making the trek north. 
  3. A moratorium on letting people into the country in the midst of the pandemic. 

“The three big policies that the Trump administration put in place in 2019 — along with the border wall — will stop this,” Wagner said. “President Biden needs to reinstate these policies and finish this border barrier because what’s happening now as a result of this — the open border policy and the catch and release policy — is that they’re coming into the interior, and they’re bringing crime with them and drugs and COVID-19.” 

“The cost to our country long term is not going to be good,” she added. “When I say there’s no end in sight, the next several months [are] going to be worse. And the trip is going to be more treacherous as it gets hotter and hotter in that part of our country and in Central America.” 

Biden recently told “TODAY” part of the problem at the border stemmed from “the failure to have a real transition — cooperation from the last administration like every other administration has done.”