The mayor of a Texas border city told council members he is sick of the blame game from Republicans and Democrats in Washington DC about what he called the “broken asylum system.”
The comments from Laredo, Texas, Mayor Pete Saenz came during a city council meeting on April 4 where the City was debating a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to not close the border with Mexico. Laredo is one of the major ports of entry for commercial trade into Texas.
“We’re in the crossfire of both Democrats, Republicans, the president,” Mayor Saenz said during a discussion on the resolution. “To be honest with you, I’m sick of it — you know, the blame game — I’m sick of it.”
The mayor said he has told his district representative and senators that “real lives are being impacted down here.” “We’re tired,” the exasperated border mayor stated. “We don’t want to go through this anymore.”
“We know what the solutions are,” he continued. “But, there’s no political will — this gaming, this back and forth — at our expense.”
Laredo Fire Chief Steve Landin responded to Mayor Saenz’s concerns and told the public the city previously sent a letter to Washington requesting that the government carry out “immigration reform.”
“I told the congressman today, ‘you guys, over there, need to get your act together and get both parties together and come up with some laws that are going to try to minimize all these asylum claims,” Chief Landin expressed.
Landin said that in working with the local charities who are providing shelters for the hundreds of migrants being dropped off in Laredo by ICE and Border Patrol agents he learned that migrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long time have “found out that they can no longer separate families — they are illegally crossing the border back into Mexico, go pick up their families, and come back and present themselves.”
The chief said that immigration officials then give the migrants a court date that he said some will honor. “But I can probably put money down that a lot won’t.”
The mayor went on to express support for certain types of physical barriers for the Laredo area. He also expressed support for a bill currently being considered by the Texas Legislature that would take money from the state’s “rainy day fund” to build border barriers in Webb and Maverick Counties. Laredo is the county seat of Webb County. He said the bill would “provide more local input where we can work with the governor and decide what is best for our (area).”
City Council Member George Altget put some of the blame for the current migrant crisis on the government of Mexico. “Let’s be real honest,” the council member stated. “Mexico is gathering up, at the Guatemalan border, the next caravan and they’re shepherding them to our doorstep — with an escort.”
“Mexico is not doing its part,” he continued. “The resolution should include language that tells Mexico very clearly, ‘Quit delivering this problem to our doorstep. It’s not fair.”
The council passed the resolution, including language that “Laredo, Texas, is a safe city, that trade is the solution and not the problem, directing Mexico to stop shepherding caravans of illegal immigrants to Laredo’s port, urging more personnel for border security, and, where needed, strategic infrastructure, urging the federal government to provide a better worker visa program, and include local crime statistics.” The resolution passed on a 5-0 vote.