HOUSTON – Republican senators and Democrats spoke at the border Friday after getting a first-hand look at the conditions along Texas’ border with Mexico.
Sen. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn led a delegation of lawmakers to the border area Friday.
Cruz tweeted out photos of dozens of minors, wrapped in foil-like space blankets, lying on the floor of crowded Border Patrol facilities. “This is a humanitarian and a public health crisis,” the Texas Republican said.
Both sides blamed each other for the recent surge of immigrants caught illegally crossing the southern border. In particular, is a divide on how to handle families and unaccompanied minors from Central America.
“We all agree that it is a broken immigration system that was compounded by decisions that the prior administration made,” U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar said.
In the middle are the border patrol agents and those being caught illegally crossing the border.
However, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, Chris Cabrera, says the site of some Central American families and unaccompanied minors being allowed to stay in the U.S. is a draw.
“It’s like if your sink is clogged and you’re going to fix the pipes, you need to have something in place to catch that water, and apparently, we didn’t have that bucket and now we have a big flood,” Cabrera explained
Cabrera says he worries that Democrats and Republicans will remain divided on this issue and another year will pass with no long-term solutions.
“I think that partisan hat needs to be left at the door and get in there and figure it out as a human, what’s best for the country, for our country, and what’s best for these people that are coming,” Cabrera said.
A senior Border Patrol official told reporters Friday that the encounters with migrants along the Southwest border have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50% increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month.
“Our agents are stretched thin, they’re stretched thin in the field,” said Cabrera.
Of the total, about 450-500 per day are unaccompanied minors, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary figures.
A prior news conference was held Friday after U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, of Texas’ 20th Congressional District, visited a facility for unaccompanied children at the border in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Castro visited the Carrizo Springs Office of Refugee Resettlement facility with a congressional delegation. The oversight visit will be closed press, per facility guidance, according to a news release about the visit.