HIDALGO, Texas – The authors of the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act conducted a fact-finding tour of the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, while at the same time promoting their new legislation.

U.S. Reps. John Cornyn of Texas and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar of Laredo and Tony Gonzales of San Antonio visited a Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna and the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. They also met with federal and local law enforcement officials, as well as elected and community leaders with an interest in solving border security issues.

The four held a news conference at the bridge, answering questions about their legislation, when land ports of entry might be reopened to so-called “non-essential” travelers, providing vaccines to visa holders from Matamoros, and Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent decision to declare the border a disaster area.

The four lawmakers say their legislation will provide new protections for unaccompanied children and help streamline the processing of migrants. The legislation would also establish at least four regional processing centers in high-traffic areas along the border.  And the legislation would create a pilot program to expedite legal proceedings for asylum seekers. 

The bill requires the hiring of hundreds of immigration judge teams, asylum officers, litigation teams and other staff. “The cases of migrants who arrive during surges will be prioritized to ensure those with legitimate claims can be granted asylum without lengthy delays, while also disincentivizing would-be migrants with weak asylum claims from attempting the dangerous journey to the border,” Cornyn, Sinema, Cuellar and Gonzales say.

The podcast below features the news conference held at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, including opening remarks from the legislators and the Q&A with reporters.

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