Senators received briefings, convened a roundtable with border stakeholders, toured the USBP El Paso central processing center & El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, and accompanied the Border Patrol Union on a night time patrol
EL PASO – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) led a bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation to El Paso, Texas, to gain a firsthand understanding of the realities and diverse challenges at the Southwest border, and witness what Americans living in border states and communities experience every day.
The U.S. Senators participating in the Congressional Delegation include Senators Sinema, Cornyn, Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
“Today’s visit provided a sobering account of the very real challenges the men and women tasked with securing the border, border towns, and migrants experience every day. The combination of an unsecure border, an overworked and under-resourced Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection force, and never-before seen levels of illegal immigration, asylum seekers, and coordinated smuggling efforts have completely ruined an already broken system. We’re here to bring colleagues of diverse political beliefs together to finally make progress on an issue that matters deeply to all Arizonans and Americans,” said Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee and leader of the bipartisan delegation.
The Senators began with a U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) El Paso Sector & Federal Agencies briefing to frame their visit and get an update on current U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations and trends in border security before receiving a tour of the USBP El Paso Central Processing Center.
Following their tour of the El Paso Central Processing Center, the Senators convened a roundtable with local border and immigration stakeholders, including local nonprofits working to ensure the fair and humane treatment of migrants, local elected officials, business representatives, and local and state law enforcement, to hear from the men and women on the frontlines about what resources they need to mitigate the ongoing crisis. The Senators then toured a previously closed El Paso middle school that has been converted into a temporary migrant care facility.
As part of their visit, the bipartisan group of Senators also visited the El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, which is currently the busiest port of entry processing migrants in the United States.
The Senators concluded the first day of their trip to the Southwest border by accompanying the Border Patrol Union on a night time patrol of the USBP Santa Teresa Area of Operation, which is currently one of the two busiest areas for illegal migration crossings. During the patrol, members of the Border Patrol Union highlighted that they often spend more time processing migrants than they do their jobs of patrolling the border and interdicting dangerous and illegal activity.
At the end of last year, Sinema partnered with Republican Senator Thom Tillis on a bipartisan proposal to fuel investments in Border Patrol Agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations Officers; reassert control of the border through increased enforcement, technology, resources, and more; modernize the asylum system; reform the employment visa system to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness; and establish a pathway for legal citizenship for roughly 2 million Dreamers who were brought to this country when they were young through no fault of their own.
In a December Senate floor speech about her bipartisan proposal, Sinema vowed to continue her work finding a path forward on a comprehensive plan to secure the border and ensure the humane treatment of migrants in the new year by bringing a group of committed Senators to the Southwest border.
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