EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – GOP Hispanics are urging party leadership to listen to those who live the immigration crisis every day before bringing a sweeping border bill to a vote on the House floor.
Tuesday’s comments from members of the Republican-led Congressional Hispanic Conference come as the House Judiciary gets ready to discuss a major immigration and border security initiative on Wednesday. The proposed legislation would tighten asylum eligibility and route more migrants into detention, according to The Hill.
Conference leaders acknowledge a border crisis affecting people in their districts and fear the U.S. is losing control of its southern border. But they said they are just as much in favor of legal immigration as they are against illegal immigration.
“I am confident leadership will not bring anything to the floor that doesn’t have the votes,” said U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, co-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “This border crisis has a lot of layers to it. That’s why nothing has been done in decades. What happens in the House tomorrow is only the start.”
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, the conference’s other co-chair, said the party’s internal dialogue reflects a “new regular order” Republicans have brought to the House as opposed to mandates when Democrat Nancy Pelosi was in charge.
“I am confident when push comes to shove that we are going to have a bill that will pass out of the House (because) the one thing that is totally unacceptable is inaction, to pretend the situation at the border is perfectly well, it’s acceptable – it is not,” Diaz-Balart said. “I am confident we’ll see a serious bill that will get sufficient (votes) to pass the House so we can have the conversation with the Senate.”
Diaz-Balart said the conference supports a bill to ensure the country has operational control of its borders, given the record 4.8 million migrant apprehensions in the past two years and the flood or fentanyl coming across the border that is killing thousands of Americans every year.
He said the Biden administration not only has lost operational control but has also handed the reins to the drug cartels that have taken over the lucrative migrant-smuggling trade as well.
“Biden promised a humane border policy, yet 2022 was the deadliest year for migrants with nearly 900 deaths. That is not humane. That is cruel and unacceptable,” he said.
Gonzales urged House leadership to listen to border Republicans on immigration.
“This group understands the issue. We live it every single day. We don’t just pop in one day and pop out. We are vested to see that the immigration crisis ends as well as that we have an immigration system that gets reformed,” Gonzales said. “This is the face of the immigration crisis. Oftentimes, it starts in my district in Texas or in Juan Ciscomani’s district in Arizona, but there is not one member of Congress that is not impacted.”
At a Tuesday news conference in Washington, D.C., conference leaders invited members of a family that lost loved ones to a smuggler barreling through a Texas community and a leader of the National Border Patrol Council.
Council Vice President Hector Garza said action is needed before the federal government ends Title 42 public health expulsions of migrants on May 11.
“Once it ends we’ll simply not have the manpower and we will completely lose control of the border,” Garza said. “As long as we allow illegal immigrants to abuse our asylum system and be released into our country with a court date years from now, they will continue to come by the millions. It is that simple.”