Bipartisan & Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Call for Solutions at Border
Wednesday, US Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Representatives Tony Gonzales (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) traveled to the southern border to tour a DHHS facility housing migrant children and to call for attainable policy solutions to the current influx of migrants crossing the border. The bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers urged their colleagues in Congress and the Biden Administration to support the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act they co-sponsored in April. Since its introduction, the bill has received widespread public support.
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act would establish four regional processing centers in high traffic border sectors, increase the number of immigration judges, asylum officers, and ICE and Border Patrol officers, and implement policies that prevent unaccompanied migrant children from being released to sex offenders and child abusers.
The bill seeks to help eliminate the 1.3 million case backlog in our immigration courts and help to improve legal proceedings over the current average wait time of two and a half years. Senator Cornyn said that improving the efficiency of immigration courts and lowering the adjudication time of immigration cases will help to disincentivize illegal immigration.
“In particular, we think it’s really important to get people who have immigration rights, to be able to get in front of a judge and to present their evidence and make those claims. Right now that’s not possible because they are given a notice to appear, months and maybe years in the future,” Cornyn said.
“This is what our border patrol friends called ‘Catch and Release’ — it’s been shown time and time again, to encourage more people to come and not to deter people who don’t have legitimate claims.”
Another key goal of the bill is combatting the human trafficking and abuse of unaccompanied minors.
“Our legislation ensures that when children are placed with sponsors around the country that these are individuals who are known to not have criminal records, who are not abusers, so that they that we have more ability to know that these children are in safe circumstances. Right now, we don't have that security. We can't track these kids for more than one month after they leave these facilities,” Senator Sinema said.
It is good to see a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers working together on the issue of border security. This bill is good news for Texas Taxpayers, who have spent $3.5 billion in state taxes on border security since 2014, and are likely to spend more following Texas Governor Greg Abbott's disaster proclamation for multiple counties in Texas being impacted by the surge of illegal border crossings.
Improving the federal government’s control of the southwestern border has been a starting point and road block for many Senators when it comes to passing other immigration bills like the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (which have already passed the US House), or President Joe Biden’s comprehensive immigration plan. If lawmakers can work together to pass the sensible Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, it will bode well for future efforts at bipartisanship on immigration reforms.
The US needs immigration policies that will help to increase the number of legal workers and make up for the historically low amount of legal immigration that occurred during the pandemic, as workforce shortages continue to increase the costs of common goods and services that are already being impacted by inflation.