Lawmakers Converge on the Border to See the Crisis for Themselves
House members are converging on the border this weekend and next week to see for themselves the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the southwest border.
Since October more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained crossing into the U.S. illegally, the majority of whom are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The government projects that by the end of the fiscal year they will have detained some 90,000 unaccompanied minors.
"Word has spread around the world about the Obama administration’s lax immigration enforcement and administrative legalization programs, and it has encouraged thousands of children, teenagers, and families from Central America to come to the United States illegally and take advantage of this situation,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Friday.
The committee chairman will be leading a bipartisan group of committee members to the Rio Grande Sector of the U.S. border with Mexico – where much of the surge in illegal immigration is occurring – on Wednesday and Thursday.
Goodlatte’s spokeswoman told Breitbart News that to date Goodlatte, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) have confirmed they will be attending. There are still outstanding RSVPs from others invitees however.
Thursday the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a field hearing in McAllen, Texas. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steve C. McCraw, and Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Kevin W. Oaks are scheduled to testify.
“DHS is not adequately prepared to address this crisis, which has left State and local officials to fill a void left by the Federal government,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) said Thursday.
In addition to the committees, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Filemon Vela (D-TX), Rubén E. Hinojosa (D-TX), and Steven Horsford (D-NV) are also visiting the border this weekend.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Kay Granger (R-TX) – who is heading a task-force on the crisis – are also planning a border tour in the coming days and will be joined this Saturday by Ana Garcia de Hernandez, the First Lady of Honduras.
Earlier this week the House Judiciary and House Homeland Security Committees held hearings on the crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border into the U.S. illegally.
“Law enforcement officials who testified at the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week state that this surge shows no signs of stopping and that once these minors and families are here, it will be years before they face the possibility of removal – if they are removed at all,” the House Judiciary Committee chairman said Friday, adding that they reason for the border visit is “so that we can determine how to stop this border crisis.”