The Texas Border Coalition appreciates the work that U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, are doing to improve the federal government’s capacity to manage immigrants and asylum seekers at our southern border, ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and humanely while reducing the impact on our border communities.
This spring, we have seen an increase in the number of family units and unaccompanied children who have been allowed to enter the country and continue their quest for asylum. Approximately 28 percent of migrants recently apprehended by CBP at the U.S.-Mexico border are families and children who do not attempt to evade detection, but instead present themselves at the ports of entry or seek out U.S. authorities to initiate a request for asylum.
The number of migrants in ICE holding facilities and the longstanding backlog of cases in immigration courts are troubling. They are evidence of a broken asylum and immigration system that should have been fixed years ago.
TBC supports smart, effective border enforcement and greater investments in personnel, technology and infrastructure at the ports of entry – not false efforts that militarize the border, harming morale and further damaging the economy of our region. Smart border enforcement actions should confront border security challenges including drug smuggling, gang activity, human trafficking and undocumented entry where they are perpetrated — at the land ports of entry.
A well-functioning immigration court system will restore order and fairness to our immigration process, preserve the rights of asylum seekers and deter a wave of economic migrants from flooding U.S. border crossings. Involving members of border communities in the decision-making process will promote mutual trust and enhances security by encouraging increased cooperation and open information-sharing.
Without a long-term solution to rebuild our broken immigration system, the migration problems that confront border communities cannot be solved. This legislation is an important step toward addressing this growing problem with adequately resourced immigration courts, smart border enforcement, common-sense immigration reform and support for local border communities that provide humanitarian assistance to migrants.
TBC looks forward to continuing to work with our border congressional delegations and the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve immigration and border security outcomes worthy of our great state and nation.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., on behalf of the Texas Border Coalition. Treviño, pictured above, chairs the TBC. The 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 and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville.
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