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Republican Senator claims Mexicans would be 'eating cat food' if it weren't for the US

NewsRepublican Senator claims Mexicans would be 'eating cat food' if it weren't for the US

Senator John Kennedy

The Mexican government has called Senator Kennedy a ‘racist’ following his remarks (Image: Getty)

A diplomatic dispute with Mexico has been ignited after a senior Republican said their citizens would be “eating cat food” if it wasn’t for the United States. The Mexican government labelled GOP Senator John Kennedy a “racist” following his offensive remarks on how drug trafficking could be reduced.

During a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday (May 11), the Louisiana lawmaker said that the Biden administration could use troops to end the cartels because Mexico was so dependent on US trade.

Mr Kennedy said: “Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent.”

He added: “Our economy is $23 trillion. Mexico’s economy is 1.3 trillion. Ours is 18 times bigger. We buy $400 billion every year from Mexico.”

The Senator, 71, was scrutinising Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Chief Anne Milgram on the prevention of fentanyl doses entering the US.

Read more: Immigration means an ‘untold’ number of Americans ‘will lose their lives’

Marcelo Ebrard

Marcelo Ebrard suggested the GOP are trying to cause instability before the presidential election (Image: Getty)

He questioned: “So why don’t you and the president get on the phone and call President (Andres Manuel) López Obrador and make him a deal he can’t refuse to allow our military and our law enforcement officials to go into Mexico and work with his to stop the cartels.”

There was uproar in Mexico over Mr Kennedy’s comments to a Senate committee on federal spending, with both the country’s president and foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard responding.

The latter said that the GOP were purposefully attempting to cause instability prior to the presidential election in 2024.

Mr Ebrard said: “What is behind these ideas and those who promote them.

“Racism against Mexicans, and in general all Spanish-speakers.”

President Lopez Obrador, meanwhile, asked Mexicans in America to vote out members of Congress with these views.

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Joe Biden may use his presidential veto to kill the ‘Secure the Border Act’ (Image: Getty)

He said: “Tell our countrymen, Hispanics, our American friends, not to vote for people with this very arrogant, very offensive and very foolish mentality.”

The furore began when House of Representatives Republicans signed off on a bill that would breathe new life into former president Donald Trump’s now-axed border wall.

The so-called ‘Secure the Border Act’, which was narrowly passed by lawmakers on Thursday, additionally includes the hiring of 22,000 new border patrol agents to prevent migrants from sneaking into the US.

But according to MailOnline, the bill, which makes it harder for migrants to claim asylum, is unlikely to become law.

The upper house of Congress, the Senate, is controlled by the Democrats, who will almost certainly vote it down.

But should it by some miracle manage to get through, the White House has issued a warning that Joe Biden will use his presidential veto to put a stop to the bill.

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Pandemic Era Border Policy Title 42 Expires

The ceasing of Title 42 post-pandemic has intensified pressure on detention facilities (Image: Getty)

The response to the expiry of a Covid-era emergency rule, known as Title 42, on Thursday at midnight made it less difficult to remove asylum-seekers without hearing their case.

Title 42 had been utilised by Mr Trump to remove migrants when the coronavirus pandemic broke out on public health grounds.

But it ended because Mr Biden opted to end the Covid-19 emergency.

However, pressure has intensified on the Biden administration with border union officials emphasising that detention facilities are already overcrowded.

While a deal had been reached with Mexico to take back Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who have their asylum claims turned down.

But the huge number of migrants entering the country has already overwhelmed border shelters in El Paso, Texas, with some having to sleep on the streets.

A state of emergency has been declared in the city.

Last week, a shock report from a top government accountability watchdog revealed how poorly border officials are coping.

According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General said border forces are struggling to manage the rise in numbers of migrants because of a lack of staff.

Investigators have issued a bleak warning that border and immigrations officials could quit or retire early if the working conditions remain in the condition they are currently in.

Around 24,000 law enforcement officers are stationed along the 1,951-mile southwestern border with Mexico, while an additional 1,500 troops are being sent to support US Customs and Border Protections and the 2,500 National Guard troops already stationed there.

US Customs and Border Protection reports that a minimum of 2.3 million migrants attempted to illegally cross the border into the United States last year, which is an increase on the 1.7 million people in 2021, and a little over 450,000 more than 2020, when the vast majority of the world was locked down during the peaks of the pandemic.

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