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Texas border town spends tens of thousands lobbying Biden White House for border help

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-10-20

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A Texas border city is spending tens of thousands of dollars annually to lobby the White House and Washington officials on immigration and border security.

The city of Laredo paid Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, a prominent Washington firm, $50,000 during the third quarter of 2021 to lobby the Biden White House, agencies, and Congress for funding to address the fallout from the border crisis, according to a recent disclosure .

BIDEN SPENDING $24M ON TENT COURTS TO HEAR ASYLUM CLAIMS AT BORDER

The filing details efforts to secure funding for transportation and housing, border and homeland security, immigration support, and health programs in next year’s appropriations legislation. The city is on track to match the $200,000 that it spent with the firm in 2020. In 2019, Laredo spent $30,000 quarterly before boosting its commitment the following year.

Cities along the southern U.S. border have faced a crush of migrants attempting to reach the country illegally, overwhelming public resources.

While President Joe Biden and other top administration officials have said migrants should not travel to the United States, the number of people attempting to cross the southern border illegally has risen sharply over the past 10 months. In September, some 30,000 Haitian migrants arrived in Del Rio, Texas, before being transported to Laredo and other cities.

Laredo city’s manager, Robert Eads, said essential services might need to be halted under the strain.

“What we’re going to have to do is take resources from our community that we’ll have to apply somewhere else,” Eads told Fox News . “If it’s an EMT, fire department, police department, traffic control, whatever it may be, we’re going to have to suspend that so we can address this.”

Eads did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

In August, Laredo discovered a 40% coronavirus positivity rate among migrants who had been bused to the city from other stops along the border. It began refusing to take in migrants from elsewhere on the U.S.-Mexico border and busing migrants instead to larger cities in the state.

“That was very high,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz told the Washington Examiner's Anna Giaritelli in an interview at the time. The numbers were confirmed by Laredo's health authority, Dr. Victor Trevino.

The city has seen a spike in coronavirus cases beginning in December last year .

“Our health system cannot support those volumes,” city manager Eads said . “Even if a migrant themselves, God forbid, gets sick, it’s the same resource that we’re going to lack, so they may not get the services that they need.”

Laredo is being represented by Akin Gump senior consultant Lamar Smith, a former Republican congressman from Texas; Akin Gump senior counsel Hans Rickhoff; and Akin Gump senior adviser Ryan Thompson, a former chief of staff and press secretary to Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican.

Rickhoff’s professional biography notes his experience counseling clients on federal agency decision-making, as well as “[a]cting on behalf of immigration interests before Congress and the administration.”

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The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency this week announced that it would spend millions of dollars to rebuild asylum court facilities in Laredo and Brownsville, another border city, as it moves to restart a Trump-era asylum program , the Migrant Protection Protocols, sometimes called "Remain in Mexico."

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Comments / 13

Sarah Anderson
10-20

I think these land owners such be able to take care of the problem!

Reply(1)
13
Keith Jones
10-20

They shouldn’t have to do this.Help should already be there

Reply
14

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