Issue Report ● Immigration
For Immediate Release: 
February 12, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
This weekend, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) visited Texas and New Mexico with Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Deb Haaland (NM-01), and Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) to meet with migrants, advocates, and border law enforcement personnel. After President Trump’s rally last night, which was riddled with falsehoods and sought to divide and demagogue, here’s a look at House Democrats’ visit to get the facts about our challenges at the border:

CNN: Democratic lawmakers to visit US southern border amid Congress negotiations over border security
 
“A small group of Democratic lawmakers is headed to the US-Mexico border this weekend to tour the area, meet with immigrant rights' advocates and be briefed by US Customs and Border Protection.”

“House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland will travel with a group of newly-elected congresswomen to Texas and New Mexico on Saturday. The group so far includes Democratic Reps. Veronica Escobar of Texas, Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who each represent districts near the southern border. Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania is also going on the trip.”

“The House members will begin their visit with a morning meeting with local immigrant rights advocates, followed by a visit to a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas. The group plans to stop along the border at several points, including a port of entry and the location where Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, a 8-year-old Guatemalan child who died while in US Customs and Border Protection's custody, was apprehended. Felipe and his father was apprehended about 3 miles west of the Paso Del Norte port of entry in El Paso. CBP officials will then brief the group on border security before the members end their trip with a news conference in Sunland Park, New Mexico”

The Hill: Dems call for 'strategic investments' while touring southern border
 
“A group of Democratic lawmakers toured the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday and called for more resources to process people who enter the country amid negotiations over border security funding.”

“‘We’re here to see what the facts are,’ [Majority Leader Hoyer] said, noting that the representatives spoke with people who work in security and those who advocate on the legal and humanitarian sides of the issue.”

“Hoyer visited the border with newly elected Democratic Reps. Deb Haaland (N.M.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M) and Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.).”

“Democrats maintained that they were in favor of some investments at the border…‘Democrats have been putting forth ideas proposing funding for technology, for increased number of immigration judges, for more agents on the border to process the number of people who are coming through’ Haaland said in a video Saturday. ‘That was absolutely confirmed today by the people who work there.’”

“Scanlon tweeted about a woman they met who had been separated from her children at the border as a result of the Trump administration's ‘zero tolerance’ policy requiring all adults who illegally cross the border to be prosecuted. ‘We just met with a woman who was separated from her children at our border. She told her two young girls that she was going away to work and was not reunited with them until 4 months later,’ Scanlon tweeted.”

KFox 14: House Delegation tours borderland to learn needs and culture
 
“El Paso congresswoman Veronica Escobar, and New Mexico Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, led a group of Democrats on a tour around the borderland on Saturday. All who KFOX 14 spoke with said they came with an open mind to learn…‘We came to El Paso, and we found it to be safe,’ [Majority Leader Hoyer] said.”

“Walking through detention facilities, meeting with Immigration and Custom Enforcement, immigration advocates, and getting a briefing from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all have their own takeaways from the experience.”

“‘We met a mother who had just been reunited with her children last night after being separated for four months,’ said District 5 Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. ‘And seeing her still crying, and seeing her children trying to adjust to the situation having just the whole array of experiences, it's been a long day, but one that was really, really useful.’”

“‘What I did learn by speaking to federal agents on the border is that we could use more technology, we could use more immigration judges,’ said District 1 New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland.”

“Congresswoman Escobar, and Rep.Torres Small said they're trying to open the eyes of outsiders to give perspective.”

“‘This is the third that I have been on where people who didn't live along the border came to visit it with an open mind, looked at the challenges that we faced,’ said Torres Small.”

“Escobar said there is a conference committee that's been working on coming up with a comprehensive bill, that can get bipartisan support.”

KVIA: House democrats visit El Paso and Sunland Park, tour border wall
“Five democrats from Congress visited El Paso and Sunland Park, where they toured the border and met with immigration advocates on Saturday…‘The border is complex,’ said U.S. Rep .Veronica of El Paso. ‘It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it sure isn't cruelty that should be a solution.’”

“Escobar joined Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces, Deb Haaland of Albuquerque, Mary Scanlon of Philadelphia and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland…The democrats said Trump did not paint a realistic view of the border.”

KTSM: Congresswomen Escobar, Torres Small lead delegation on tour of U.S.-Mexico border
“Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) led three other House Democrats on a tour around El Paso and Sunland Park, NM on Saturday where they learned about living along the Southern border.Members of the delegation included Reps. Deb Haaland (NM-01), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05).”

“During the tour, members from Congress met with immigration advocates and received a briefing on border security from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  This comes four days after President Trump said El Paso used to be one of the most dangerous cities prior to the construction of the border fence currently in place. ‘It's frustrating to know that we are being painted as a dangerous place meant to be controlled," Escobar said.’”

“Representatives said in order to come together with a bipartisan solution to border security, people need to see the border and the surrounding communities for themselves. ‘We know that we need an agency that will continuously adapt to changing threats and circumstances and that's why you have to look at the border on a mile-by-mile basis,’ Torres Small said.”

“‘One of the things they said, that unfortunately our president has not made clear enough, is that it is a mix of policies that will make our communities safe and our borders secure,’ Hoyer said.”

“‘With all the debate about what we are doing about border security, it was important to me to come here and see how very different it is from the Northern border where I grew up,’ Scanlon said.”

“‘I want America to take a step back and realize that political rhetoric is political rhetoric, but the truth and the facts are also here and that's what we should be conveying to the American people,’ [Rep. Deb] Haaland said.”

KQRE: Members of Congress visit southern New Mexico border
 
“Days before President Trump's El Paso visit… Democrats made a stop at the southern border.”

“They met with immigrant advocates, visited a migrant shelter, and walked through multiple stops along the border…‘We're still seeing overcrowding in the holding cells which were never meant to hold families or children,’ said Torres Small.”

Washington Post: Congressional negotiators are optimistic about a border deal to avoid shutdown, Hoyer says
 
“Accompanying Hoyer on Saturday were Democratic Reps. Veronica Escobar of El Paso, Xochitl Torres Small and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, and Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania. All are freshmen elected in last November’s Democratic wave that gave the party control of the House; Torres Small and Scanlon won seats previously held by Republicans.”

“At one stop the delegation met a Honduran woman named Yeimi and her 3- and 5-year-old daughters, who were taken from her by Border Patrol agents when they crossed into El Paso in October. They were reunited Friday night… The delegation also met with groups that provide legal and humanitarian aid to migrants and received a security briefing from Customs and Border Protection officials.”

“The lawmakers said a key takeaway from their tour was that border security requires a multifaceted approach and can’t be reduced to single solutions such as physical barriers.”

“‘We know that we have bad actors. We have to stop drug smugglers and human traffickers from entering our country. We also know that we need an agency that will continuously adapt to changing threats and circumstances. And that’s why you have to look at the border on a mile-by-mile basis,’ said Torres Small, who represents a mostly rural stretch of the border across New Mexico.”

“Escobar said that despite the ongoing surge of families from Central America seeking asylum in the United States, apprehensions of illegal border crossers remains well below numbers of a decade ago. ‘The challenge for me as a border resident is that the powers that be want to paint the border as insecure as a way to make this a political football, so that those who can be tougher on security emerge looking stronger in the eyes of their voters,’ Escobar said.”

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