On Monday and Tuesday this week U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, is at the southern border in El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. While there, N.C.’s senior senator is meeting with U.S. Border Patrol and Customs agents. He is traveling with congressional colleagues Kyrsten Sinema, I-AZ, John Cornyn, R-TX, Mark Kelly, D-AZ, James Lankford, R-OK) Chris Coons, D-DE, Jerry Moran, R-KS, and Chris Murphy, D-CT.
“There is a humanitarian and security crisis raging at the southern border, with historic illegal entries and massive amounts of dangerous drugs being smuggled into our country due to failed policies and enforcement coming from Washington,” said Tillis. “I look forward to visiting the border again to meet with our brave Border Patrol agents, see what is happening first-hand, and discuss what solutions both parties need to put forward to fix this crisis and make our country safe and secure.”
Tillis also visited the area in March of 2021, after a migrant surge followed the Biden administration’s reversal of Trump-era immigration policy and led to people living under bridges in towns along the border. This time the delegation will tour processing facilities, meet with local law enforcement officers, community leaders, and non-profits that accept and care for asylum seekers leaving CBP custody.
The visit follows President Joe Biden’s visit to the southern border near El Paso over the weekend. It was Biden’s first visit to the border as president despite calls from the U.S. Border Patrol agency and leaders of Texas and Arizona amid a record 2.4 million migrants stopped at the border this year.
In the visit Sunday, Biden did not go to the areas where the immigration crisis is heaviest. He went to a migrant respite center but did not see or interact with any migrants. A White House spokesman told CNN that it was “coincidental” that no migrants were at the facility the president visited.
The White House announced Thursday last week new policies expanding parole process, continuation of Title 42 expedited removal for those crossing the border illegally, tripling of migrant resettlement facilities in the United States, and a new app where migrants can schedule an appointment to claim asylum.
“The Biden-Harris Administration intends to welcome up to 20,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries during Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024, putting the United States on pace to more than triple refugee admissions from the Western Hemisphere this Fiscal Year alone,” the White House announcement read.
However, the Border Patrol Union says the president’s visit lacked substance.
Tillis and Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema tried to strike a last-minute immigration deal before the Senate adjourned in December. Their agreement would have offered a path to citizenship for so-called “dreamer” illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. It also would also have spent $25 billion more for border security and extended Title 42 for at least a year until new “regional processing centers” provided for in the bill could be built.