Washington, DC – While our hearts are broken for the community of El Paso, Congresswoman Brownley (D-Westlake Village) released the following statement after a two-day visit to both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border along with over 20 Members of Congress. The delegation, the largest to visit the border yet this Congress, left with a comprehensive, firsthand picture of our broken immigration system and the human impact of new policies governing people seeking asylum in our country.
“Last week, while at our Southern Border, I heard from law enforcement, homeland security officials, immigrant advocates, local experts, and immigrants about the situation on the ground. What is clear, and what many of us already know, is that the Trump Administration’s immigration policies are not only cruel, but they are also simply not working.
“We have families who are still being separated, despite a court order, because of outdated definitions of family units and the Trump Administration’s blatant disregard for the wellbeing of immigrant children. We have charities and non-profit organizations trying to clean up after this Administration’s broken and ill-conceived immigration policies, and care of those seeking asylum in our great nation. These entities are taking responsibility for a problem the Trump Administration has created that is an embarrassment and a stain on our nation.
“I spoke with several immigrants who told me that, while they understood the Administration’s policies and what the situation was at our Southern Border, it did not deter them from taking the perilous journey from their home countries, because when you have to weigh the fear of staying in your home country and hope for a better life in America, there is only one choice.
“It is far past time that the Trump Administration comes to the table and works with House Democrats to pass bipartisan immigration reform that not only keeps our nation safe but also reflects who we are as a nation and the values we uphold as Americans. This situation that President Trump willfully created is unsustainable and if we do not act swiftly, we are risking the lives of those who need us most.
“Lastly, I want to thank Congresswoman Escobar for bringing us on this very insightful journey to her district and providing us the opportunity to see with our own eyes what is happening at our Southern Border. I look forward to continuing to work with her to address this humanitarian crisis.”
About the Trip
Last Thursday, Members crossed into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, visiting a shelter crowded with hundreds of migrants, some as young as three months old. Members then received an extensive briefing at the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, including from the Consul General, DHS officials and leaders from the Juárez city government. Upon returning to the United States, Members visited the CBP’s Paso del Norte processing center, where they received a briefing from law enforcement officials, including information on the death of the 32-year-old Salvadoran man who died in New Mexico while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Thursday concluded with an oversight visit of the CBP facility Border Patrol Station One.
Click here to watch Brownley and delegation members brief the media on their findings from the visit.
On Friday, Brownley spoke with immigration advocates who provided examples of how the new Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) and metering policies affect people seeking asylum. Brownley also participated in a roundtable discussion with local business leaders on the importance of binational trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Following these briefings, Brownley participated in a congressional oversight visit to an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility for unaccompanied minors.
The final stop of Brownley’s site visit was to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s El Paso Processing facility, where approximately 850 people are currently being detained.
“El Paso has been ground zero for the Trump Administration’s cruel anti-immigrant policies — from being the testing ground for the horrific family separation policy to being the site of dangerous and inhumane overcrowding,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. “Congresswoman Brownley knows that in order to create smart and humane border public policy that reflects our nation’s values, Congress must understand as much as possible about the border. I thank Congresswoman Brownley and my House Democratic Caucus colleagues for joining me in this effort to bear witness to this humanitarian crisis and for their willingness to come to the southern border to see the full and complete picture.”
“Congresswoman Brownley and House Democrats know that it is possible to keep our nation safe while upholding our core, patriotic values of decency, compassion and respect for due process,” said Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries. “Our delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border confirmed that right now, our broken immigration system means our government is falling unacceptably short on all these measures. Congresswoman Brownley and our delegation toured both sides of the border, speaking with advocates and experts, listening to law enforcement and conducting oversight. For many, this visit raised more questions than it answered, which is why the hardworking people of California are fortunate to have someone as committed to fixing our broken immigration system as Congresswoman Brownley.”