Georgia Lawmaker Displays on Journey to Southern Border

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., recently returned from a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. On his flight back, Clyde sat next to illegal immigrants.

“The taxpayers are paying for this,” Clyde says of illegal immigrants flying to new homes in the U.S. with the assistance of the Transportation Security Administration. “This is federal government-funded activity. Not only that, they don’t even have to abide by the TSA rules because they don’t have any valid government-issued ID. So, TSA is allowing them to fly with everyone else without government-issued photo ID.”

Clyde joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to talk about this experience, who is paying for transportation of illegal immigrants, what stood out to him most from his latest visit to the border, and more.

We also cover these stories:

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  • House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., calls for the ousting of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from her position as chairman of the House Republican Conference. Scalise says Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., should take Cheney’s place as the House’s No. 3 Republican. 

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Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia. Congressman Clyde, it’s great to have you with us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”

Rep. Andrew Clyde: Well, Rachel, thank you very much for the invitation and it’s good to be with you too.

Del Guidice: Thanks for making the time. So, you recently were just on the trip to the border and we actually went on another trip in January. So, this is something, the situation at the border, that has really heated up since Inauguration Day and up until now in April. Can you tell us what you saw on your most recent trip to the border?

Clyde: Sure. I was at the border just a couple of weeks ago. And this time, instead of being in Arizona, I was in the Rio Grande Valley portion of Texas. And I was absolutely aghast at what I saw, and that is the unaccompanied alien children, or the UACs, the acronym they use, but they are overcrowded, their facilities are.

You see smugglers coming over with these children, the human smuggling that is occurring, just the incentives to bring unaccompanied children or to bring minor children under the age of 7 across the border because they believe that if they come across with a small child, then they will get to stay in the United States. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening.

They’re staying in the United States because President [Joe] Biden’s executive orders have created this crisis. It’s the Biden border crisis. He needs to own it because it was the Biden administration’s creation and this is wrong. We do not treat people this way. We do not incentivize them to make a 1,500-mile trip across dangerous lands to come to the United States and illegally, that’s just wrong.

Del Guidice: Something that you mentioned was the situation of the children, the minors, at the border. And I think a lot of times what people see on the nightly news cast on TV is these families coming over. But can you talk a little bit more about the situation of child smuggling and how the cartel is involved in a lot of these situations? What did you observe and what do you know about, and not being just the families, how the cartel is involved in new situations?

Clyde: Sure. I’ll give you a personal example.

On the Sunday evening that we were there, we came across a group of seven people, three teenage minors and two male adults, one with a little girl and one with a little boy. And through interviews, discussions, etc., they found out that the man with the little boy, that was actually his son. But the man with the little girl, that little girl was not related to him at all. So that was a human smuggler right there.

And literally within 24 hours, they had the man with his son on an airplane into the country, I think he was on his way to New Jersey, courtesy of the United States. We paid for the ticket, we processed him and moved him forward.

But the smuggler, he was returned to Mexico under Title 42 authority, which I’m fortunate that we still have because the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Biden administration eliminated that. But that girl now went into the unaccompanied alien children holding facilities. And we have no idea where her family is, but we do know that she was trafficked.

And with this administration incentivizing this kind of behavior, it has literally made the federal government the last chain in human smuggling for children, and it is wrong. This has to get out to the American people and they’ve got to know that to speak up and say, “No, stop this.”

Del Guidice: Thank you for sharing that. It’s very sobering to hear about.

Something that you had mentioned, and you just mentioned this as we were talking about this human smuggling situation, you had said, after your trip back from the border, you sat next to illegal migrants on your flight home. Can you tell us about that experience and what happened?

Clyde: Absolutely. We were there on Sunday, Monday, and returned home on Tuesday. And on the Monday was when the father and son were sent back.

And then Tuesday morning on my flight, I was sitting right beside an illegal alien that had come from Guatemala with her daughter, and she had this envelope that says, “I don’t speak English, please help me find my airplane and get on the right flight.” And now, on the other side of it was her itinerary. She was on her way to Philadelphia.

So, I know that in one instance, the day before, someone was going to New Jersey, another person was actually going to California. The one beside me was going to Philadelphia. This basically makes every solitary state of the union a border state because if these [illegal immigrants] come across the border, they’re farmed out to every state of the union.

And we don’t know whether or not they have actually had a negative COVID test so that they can actually be shown to not be carrying the COVID-19 virus. So, it was very disconcerting to me to be sitting beside these people.

If you come into the United States legally through a regular port of entry, you fly in, you have to show a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arrival at that port of entry, if you come in legally. But if you come in illegally, you don’t have to do that at all.

There’s no requirement whatsoever, which is why it is absolutely necessary that we mandate by law that anyone who comes here legally has to have a COVID-19, a negative COVID-19 test. And if they test positive, then they have to be quarantined.

But that experience showed me that there are many, many, many [illegal immigrants] that come into the country and are flown to all states of the union from border states, courtesy of our government.

Del Guidice: That was one my next question, Congressman Clyde. Who was paying for the transportation of these migrants? You mentioned some were flying to Florida, some were flying to Philadelphia, I forget what other states you mentioned, but who’s paying for these plane tickets?

Clyde: We are, the taxpayers are paying for this. This is federal government-funded activity. Not only that, they don’t even have to abide by the [Transportation Security Administration] rules because they don’t have any valid government-issued ID. So, TSA is allowing them to fly with everyone else without government-issued photo ID.

So, the government’s paying for it and this is wrong. They are bypassing the standard TSA security protocol as well.

Del Guidice: Looking at your trip as a whole and reflecting back on it, what stood out to you most from your visit to the border? What is something that you were made aware of or an experience you had? What is something that really stands out to you as something that really was instructive during that visit?

Clyde: Well, we had an opportunity to look at the border wall. I mean, other than the fact that there indeed is a huge crisis—and in the Rio Grande Valley, it is a focal point of that crisis—but there is 89 miles of the border wall that has been approved and funded by Congress and signed into law back in 2019 or 2020. Of that 89 miles, 21 miles has been built.

So, you still have 68 miles that has not been built that has been funded, and because of the president’s executive order, President Biden’s executive order, that construction has ceased, and that’s wrong. You cannot just stop construction on a wall that by law is required to be built.

And then also, part of that missing 68 miles is a levee. There’s a levee system all around the Rio Grande Valley because of the constant flooding that occurs for the Rio Grande River. And where we were a significant portion of that levee had been torn down in preparation for the new levee being built.

And we got great pictures and video of part of the new levee already in place, ready [for] the concrete to be poured, the rebar’s up, the foundation was being built, but now it stopped. And we’re about to go into hurricane season where the chance of flooding for the Rio Grande Valley significantly increases.

But now, all these American citizens who live along the Rio Grande River, the levee’s gone. It was torn down with the expectation of building a new, better levee that now construction has ceased because of Biden’s executive order. And that’s wrong too. That really struck me as something that we just don’t do. We do not treat American citizens like that.

Del Guidice: The Biden administration has said what’s happening at the border isn’t a crisis. And as someone who just came back from the border and saw firsthand what’s happening, what would you say?

Clyde: Well, I would like to see [Vice President] Kamala Harris show up at the southern border. She has been appointed as the border czar for over a month now, and she has yet to even go to the border.

It is a crisis, there is no question that it is a crisis at the border. And it is one of the greatest disasters along our border, I think, that has ever happened.

So, President Biden, actually, he himself needs to come to the southern border and look at it, but I don’t think he will. At least send the vice president to the southern border so she can see for herself the extent of the crisis.

There is no denying there’s a crisis, and the crisis is a significant one. I mean, we’ve had 172,000 [illegal immigrants] come across the border in March alone, and that doesn’t include all of the ones that we missed. Those are just the ones that were caught. It’s a crisis, a huge crisis.

Del Guidice: What would you like the people to know, people across this country, about the situation at the border that the mainstream media might not be reporting on?

Clyde: I want the people across the country to know that the conduct of our federal government is shameful when it comes to the border. It can be fixed, it can be fixed by going back to the policies that were in place before the inauguration. So, there is great hope.

We can fix this on the border this week. We can fix it tomorrow, if we would go back to returning to constructing the wall, to put the Remain in Mexico policy back in place, and then commit to testing for COVID-19 for every solitary person that comes across that border.

If we start the wall again and if we return to the Remain in Mexico policy, that will send a very strong signal that says, “Do not come. If you’re going to come to this country, come through the legal ports of entry, not the illegal ones.” It will give the Border Patrol the pause that they need in this massive migration for them to get a handle on what’s going on.

Del Guidice: Even though Georgia isn’t a border state, how does illegal immigration impact Georgia?

Clyde: Because, just like that illegal immigrant from Guatemala that was sitting beside me on her way to Philadelphia, there are plenty of them on their way to Atlanta. And as a result, it makes every state of the union, including Georgia, a border state.

And when you have [illegal immigrants] coming across the border that have not been COVID-19 tested and they are flown within just days to international airports in every state of the union, including Georgia and including Atlanta, then it makes Georgia a border state.

Del Guidice: Well, you, along with your House and Senate colleagues, joined together and are calling for an investigation into President Biden’s suspension of border wall construction. Before we end here, can you just give us an update on what’s happening with this?

Clyde: We have called an investigation into that. I think that the president needs to do the right thing and he needs to reverse his executive orders, rescind his executive orders, because that’s what’s good for Americans.

The president needs to do what is right for America and restore order along the border. And he can do that by rescinding his executive orders, restarting the wall, putting back in place the Remain in Mexico policy, and stop incentivizing [illegal immigrants] from Central America to come to the United States in expectation of gaining legal entry.

Del Guidice: Congressman Clyde, thank you so much for joining us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.” It’s been great having you with us.

Clyde: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity and I’d just be happy to talk to you again when the time is right.