EDINBURG, Texas – Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez wants an immediate cessation of admissions of additional immigrants to the Rio Grande Valley.
Cortez made his views clear in a letter sent to President Biden on Friday. He said the “ongoing immigrant surge” along the U.S.-Mexico border demands “immediate and decisive action.” The letter includes an invitation from Cortez to Biden to come visit the Valley.
According to the federal government, around 188,000 people came north across the U.S.-Mexico border last month, most of them seeking asylum. Around 70 percent of them came from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
However, this does not mean that 188,000 migrants came across the border and stayed in the U.S. The majority of migrants who are apprehended at the U.S. Mexico Border are removed immediately and never come into the U.S.
In his letter, Cortez says he is sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers. However, he said the Valley cannot cope with the numbers coming in.
“While I am sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers, we must address their needs in a safe, compassionate, and humane manner without risking the well-being of our community,” Cortez wrote.
Cortez said the promise of the American Dream remains a “beacon of hope and righteousness” across the world. However, he said the situation along the southern border is “not sustainable.”
“I invite you to please come to our community to witness first-hand the challenges being created by current policy,” Cortez said.
Here is the Cortez letter in full:
July 30, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
I write to you with an extremely pressing issue. The ongoing immigrant surge along our country’s Southern Border demands immediate and decisive action.
As County Judge, it is my responsibility to advocate for the well-being of the residents of Hidalgo County. While I am sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers, we must address their needs in a safe, compassionate, and humane manner without risking the well-being of our community.
The promise of the American Dream remains a beacon of hope and righteousness across the world, however, the situation along our border is not sustainable. I invite you to please come to our community to witness first-hand the challenges being created by current policy.
Mr. President, Hidalgo County needs an immediate increase of federal manpower and resources to address immigrants currently within our jurisdiction and also the immediate cessation of admissions of additional immigrants in the RGV sector.
Richard F. Cortez
Hidalgo County, Texas
Cc: The Honorable Kamala Harris, United State Vice-President
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
The Honorable Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of U.S. Homeland Security
Chief Raul Ortiz, U.S. Border Patrol. U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Rio Grande Valley Federal Delegation
Editor’s Note: The above news story has been updated to provide more information about the number of asylum seekers entering the United States. The original story said that an estimated 188,000 migrants crossed into the United States last month. The original story did not point out that far fewer than this number are actually booked into the asylum system. The majority of migrants who are apprehended at the U.S. Mexico Border are removed immediately and never come into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has produced a document titled “Nationwide Enforcement Encounters: Title 8 Enforcement Actions and Title 42 Expulsions,” which explains its policies toward asylum seekers. Click here to view it.
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