U.S. Rep. Colin Allred joins Republicans to condemn Biden’s handling of border

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, speaks in favor of voting rights legislation during a Congressional Black Caucus press conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 12, 2022. (Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz, Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz)

Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

Recommended Videos

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, who is running to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz this year, was among three Texas Democrats who voted on Wednesday to condemn President Joe Biden’s handling of the southern border, rebuffing their party as Republicans continue to weaponize the migrant crisis in an election year.

The resolution “denounces the Biden administration’s open-borders policies” and “condemns the national security and public safety crisis” that Republicans claim the administration has created on the border. U.S. Rep. Nathaniel Moran, R-Tyler, introduced the resolution. All Republicans voted for the resolution.

Allred's vote drew criticism from his electoral opponents from both sides. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who is running against Allred for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, blasted Allred for his vote, saying he “sided with GOP extremists.”

“The Democratic nominee that goes up against Ted Cruz should fight tooth and nail against Trump’s dangerous so-called policies. If our nominee agrees with Trump and Ted Cruz's idea of border security then we're in a hell of a lot of trouble,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

A Cruz campaign spokesperson meanwhile called the move a "cowardly flip-flopping strategy" after Allred "consistently voted with his party for reckless border policies that benefit the undocumented, while weakening our country and its borders."

Allred responded to the criticism over his vote by touting his own bipartisan legislation that he’s cosponsoring called the Dignity Act, which he said “would help secure our border, provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and others who are living here and following our laws, and surge resources to our Border Patrol and border communities.” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, co-authored the Dignity Act with Florida Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar.

“Our immigration system is broken, and we need bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our values and meets the needs of our economy – not more partisan stunts that lead us nowhere,” he said.

U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, both centrist border Democrats, also voted for the resolution, however the two of them have previously been much more likely to entertain Republican proposals to harden the border in the past and have criticized members of their party for not giving the issue enough attention.

“Migrants continue to arrive in historic numbers while our U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers remain stretched thin,” Gonzalez, whose district Republicans are targeting this cycle, said in a statement. “This is all at the expense of border communities, like those in the 34th Congressional District of Texas. ”

Allred has been a reliable Democratic vote, but he has more recently shown a willingness to take harder steps on the border. After Biden announced in October that the administration would open the door to constructing more walls on the Texas-Mexico border, Allred praised the decision as a “necessary step”.

The border has emerged as one of the biggest Republican attack points against Democrats. Cruz routinely lambastes the administration and Democrats for the number of migrants entering the country and the growth of human trafficking and drug cartels.

Cruz went head to head with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a Senate Judiciary hearing in March where he demanded the secretary resign over his handling of the border. Cruz also introduced a House-passed Republican border bill into the Senate that would increase penalties for illegal immigration, build more walls and expedite deportations. Democrats in both chambers have been emphatic that they would never accept the House Republican border bill.

Despite Allred’s Wednesday vote, he has emphasized that he opposed Republicans’ border plans as too severe and performative.

“I have long said we need comprehensive reform. But now more than ever extreme politicians need to stop their political stunts and come to the table to form a real, bipartisan solution,” Allred said in a statement last week against both Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott. “That is something Ted Cruz has no interest in and something I will do as Senator.”

Recommended Videos