A group of congressmen are visiting the Rio Grande Valley to tour Border Patrol operations and humanitarian relief efforts amid the ongoing immigration crisis.
After touring the overcrowded facilities on Friday morning, the congressmen painted a sad picture of what they witnessed inside.
“I don’t remember an occasion where I have felt or witnessed such sadness and grief as I had today, said Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville). It’s heart breaking.
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Mercedes) agreed.
“It’s saddening, Hinojosa said. It brings tears to my eyes to see the children some as young as 5 who are being detained and they don TMt understand why.
After receiving four to five times the number of detainees these facilities were designed to handle, members of Congress now agree that Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed.
“They could really use some help,” Vela said.
In a press conference held following the tour, none of the congressmen said security along the border has been compromised with the recent immigration influx.
“I did not hear from my visit that we have been any less secure, said Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi).
That TMs a very different message from what Governor Rick Perry shared earlier this week after touring the same facilities.
“Our border is not secure,” Perry said following his tour.
Congressman Hinojosa is calling for an increase in foreign aid to Central America to help persuade others from following the footsteps of these immigrants.
“We need to increase the funding to Central America, Hinojosa said. We are going to do it, and we are going to present it.
With immigrants desperate to escape violent crime and extreme poverty in their home countries, Hinojosa said there is no quick easy fix to stop more people from crossing the border.
“As one parent said, ~I would rather my child die on the journey to the United States than at my front door, Hinojosa quoted.
But those crossing illegally won’t be granted asylum just because they reach United States soil.
“It is not true the United States will welcome these children and give them a path to citizenship. It is not true that they will be welcomed and taken care of, Hinojosa said. They will be sent back.
More members of Congress will be visiting the Valley as part of a U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee that will meet in McAllen next Thursday to discuss solutions to the crisis.