5 Republican US Reps: Secure the border NOW
The U.S.-Mexico border is a humanitarian and national security disaster. It is a problem of epic proportions that must be solved. Here is what we five Republican U.S. House members saw on the Arizona-Mexico border last week.
The next day we saw another group of about 40 surrender to Border Patrol agents. Most of the adults were paired with a child, except for the two coyotes (guides) for the group. Each time, there were only two Border Patrol agents to make the interdiction.
Both of these groups consisted of Guatemalan nationals. Each had a child with him or her, because court cases currently dictate that a family unit – an adult with a child, even when the relationship isn’t provable – can be detained together, and the child detained for fewer than 20 days.
The Border Patrol and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency have very limited space to detain families together, leading to their release much sooner than 20 days, usually in about three days. Each of the family units apprehended in the groups we observed will have already been released into the U.S. by the time you read this.
The Border Patrol holding facility we toured was designed for around 250 people to be held for the processing, about 12 hours. The people were then supposed to be transferred to ICE custody in Phoenix or elsewhere.
The detention center had about three times its capacity, around 750 people. The image there is brutal. Every isolation room for people with communicable diseases was filled. Every dorm was filled so that many had no room to sit or lay down.
The Border Patrol had to use storage rooms as makeshift holding cells. Other people were given mats to remain in a parking area. This will be unimaginable in a couple of months when temperatures in Arizona soar above 100 degrees.
Because all our short-term detention facilities are similarly overtaxed, illegal immigrants are being released into the U.S. every day with a future court date that most will never attend.
Yuma sector apprehends over 300 illegal border crossers every day. Virtually all get processed through the temporary facility we saw.
Every day, to deal with overcrowding, officials will release over 100 and transport approximately 150 to other facilities around the state, which are also overcrowded. Even with these transfers, the number of detainees at the Yuma center has a net increase of its population daily.
Seventy miles north of the border, in a county larger than Connecticut, local law enforcement showed us where drug and human traffickers load their cargo along the interstate every day and night.
They pointed out the lookouts in the mountains who work for the Mexican cartels. More than half of the people and drugs that are smuggled into the United States will come through this area, but the county only has resources to devote three law enforcement officers to track and arrest smugglers.
The Drug Enforcement Agency briefed us on the fraud and abuse within our asylum system. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of human smuggling rings affiliated with the Mexican cartels. They provide addresses and sponsors for the asylum applicants to be taken throughout the country at U.S. taxpayer expense.
Because of rudimentary computer software, it takes agents pouring over the destinations of the illegal immigrants to discover that sometimes 50 or more people are using the same address and same name as their sponsor.
Further investigation has revealed that the adults are being effectively sold into servitude to American employers, managed by Mexican cartel associates. The children are held captive until they are shipped back to the border to be paired up with an illegal border crosser who will claim asylum as a family unit with the rented child.
The inhumanity is caused by judicial activists who have limited the executive branch from enforcing our immigration laws.
The cartels and human smugglers have exploited judicial rulings and congressional inaction to flood our border. Nongovernmental organizations aid and abet the cartels by spreading the word into Mexico and Central America about our weak immigration laws, enticing more illegal immigration.
President Trump has declared an emergency on the border. He is right. We catch, at most, one-third of people illegally crossing into the U.S., and one-tenth of the drugs.
We must secure the border before we do anything else. Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress won’t help solve the problem because they do not even recognize that a crisis exists.
An Arizona company asserts that it can build 6,000 feet a day of a 30-foot high fence and will forfeit a multibillion-dollar bond if it doesn’t deliver on time and on budget. We must quit dithering and build the fence.
We must change our asylum laws. Almost 90 percent of current applicants do not qualify according to U.S. law and even under international law.
People seeking asylum here should not be able to claim asylum after illegal entry – we should encourage them to apply at the U.S. Embassy in their native countries.
The criteria for asylum must be strengthened. Instead of the weak initial interview that allows virtually everyone claiming asylum to wander around the country with a work permit until the final determination hearing is held – between two and five years after their release.
We must leverage Mexico into enforcing its own immigration laws. Right now, Mexico grants temporary legal status to immigrants who claim to be traveling to the United States and permits huge caravans from Central America to be bused across Mexico to the U.S. border. Further, the Mexicans must agree, as Canada has, to keep asylum applicants in their country until status is adjudicated.
Additionally, individuals and groups that assist illegal immigrants crossing our borders should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the crossing – which is a crime (first time crossing is a misdemeanor, repeat crossing is a felony).
A tent city to hold people until their status is finally determined is more humane than the overcrowded holding facility we saw or being sold into servitude around the country.
The border crisis has been manufactured alright – by Congress, which has failed in its duty, by the activists who encourage illegal border crossing; by the judiciary, whose activist judges prevent the executive branch from protecting the country; and by the leftist media that defends a porous border.
There is enough blame to go around. We encourage Congress to immediately go to work to secure our border.