MCALLEN, Texas – The Texas Border Coalition wants President Biden to issue a moratorium on the admission of new asylum applicants at the U.S. Southern border, so that border communities can have a break.
Ahead of a private meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in McAllen, TBC leaders unanimously passed a resolution calling for a pause in new asylum admissions“until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can implement its plan to adjudicate reasonable fear claims at the border, which will streamline asylum processing and ensure the humane treatment of migrants.”
TBC said if the current surge of migrants coming across the southern border continues, “it will overwhelm the resources of communities reeling from the rise in COVID delta cases.”
TBC is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region andeconomically disadvantagedcounties from El Paso to Brownsville.
Congressman Henry Cuellar was part of the border delegation that meet with Mayorkas. Afterwards they held a news conference at the Casa de Palmas hotel in McAllen.
“I understand what they are saying about doing a pause,” said Cuellar, in response to a question about the TBC position. “Look, we can turn the faucet down by working with Mexico. They have done it in the past. I am telling you, they have done it in the past. I saw it, where they were stopping people at the southern border and deporting more people than we were. Can they stop in at zero? Of course, the answer is no. Can they slow it down tremendously, the answer is yes.”
Among the border leaders to attend the news conference Congressman Cuellar were Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., Starr County Judge Eloy Treviño, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, and Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina. Other border leaders at the news conference were Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal, Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña, and McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. All are members of the TBC.
Judge Treviño is chairman of TBC. He said: “With the current spike in COVID cases, this is not the time to allow an unlimited number of asylum seekers into the country. We have to have a pause in asylum applications and we need more resources to help us handle this situation. Because right now, it’s not under control.”
In addition to the pause in asylum applications, the TBC resolution calls on the federal government to provide resources to local agencies and non-government organizations that are providing services to asylum applicants.
The resolution also asks that land ports of entry be reopened to non-essential travel and that security at and between the ports be strengthened. It also asks for immigration law be changed to address the problems communities are facing long-term.
Treviño said TBC members are eager to work with the Biden Administration to address security needs in border communities and to ensure that the effort is complimentary and coordinated between federal,stateand local officials.
Here is the TBC resolution in its entirety:
A Resolution of the Texas Border Coalition
WHEREAS,Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States confers upon the United States Congress the exclusive responsibility to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization;” and
WHEREAS, Congress has executed its responsibility since 1790, with the enactment of the Naturalization Act, and most recently with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996; and
WHEREAS, Congress has failed to reform the 1996 Act to address the growing numbers of individuals wishing entrance to the United States through a temporary work visa program and as legal permanent residents or asasylees;and
WHEREAS, during the COVID pandemic, an increasing number of migrants have been encountered at our southern border, many seeking asylum from a system that is inefficient, underfunded, understaffed, and overwhelmed; and
WHEREAS,the United States government is depending on local governments and non-governmental entities to bear the burden of caring for migrants seeking asylum; and
WHEREAS,The United States government can and must respond to these challenges by improving coordination and conditions at the border, reopening the land ports of entry to non-essential travel, streamlining the immigration system, addressing the root causes of migration and implementing practical border security solutions.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TEXAS BORDER COALITION:
- The President of the United States and the Secretary of Homeland Security should immediately implement a pause in the admission of new asylum applicants until changes can be adopted, as recommended by the Biden Administration Blueprint for a Fair, Orderly and Humane Immigration System, to streamline asylum processing. This would ensure the humane treatment of migrants by immediately adjudicating reasonable fear claims by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers while relieving the backlog in the immigration judicial system; and
- Should a pause not be available for unaccompanied minors because of decisions by the courts, the Department of Homeland Security should implement an immediate adjudication process for unaccompanied minors; and
- The United States Government should provide resources to local governments and non-government organizations to allow them to continue to address the needs of migrants safely and humanely in their current and future care; and
- The United States Government should reopen the land ports of entry to non-essential traffic, including both increased staffing (with all the COVID protections necessary) and asylum officers and processing personnel;and
- The President and Secretary should act immediately to improve border security by focusing resources at ports of entry, in effective technological security improvements between the ports and the eradication of invasive species such as Carrizo Cane and Salt Cedar to advance operational control of the border; and
- The United States Congress should pass legislation to strengthen the United States immigration system, national security, and the rule of law; create an immigration system that functions efficiently for employers, workers, and government agencies; provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers; a program that allows undocumented workers to earn legal status; and ensure that U.S. workers are not displaced by foreign workers; and
- Congress should enact legislation that addresses the growing demand for visas for individuals wishing entrance to the United States through a temporary work visa program or as legal permanent residents, including a streamlined visa renewal process; and
- The United States Government should enforce immigration law consistently and vigorously to eliminate illegal entry at the borders, employment without proper documentation (including an accurate and efficient system for employers to identify unlawful applicants), identify and deport criminal aliens;and
- The federal government must increase the number of enforcement personnel at the border land ports of entry to prevent the entry of those who wish to enter our country illegally or otherwise mean our country harm; and
- The United States Congress should establish a process whereby undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States may earn legalized status through payment of appropriate fees and back taxes, background checks, the absence of criminal or gang activity, a consistent work history, and by meeting English and civics requirements.
Adopted, this day of August 11, 2021, by unanimous vote of the Texas Border Coalition. Copies of this original resolution shall be immediately communicated to the public, elected officials of the State of Texas and the United States of America.
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