Washington — The mayor of Laredo, Texas, said Congress did not pass immigration reform contributed to the US-Mexico border crisis in response to 2024 presidential candidates who called for the border to be closed.
“This is not a democratic or republican problem. This is an American problem,” Laredo Mayor Victor Treviño said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “And things should have been done a long time ago. Immigration reform long overdue, and what we see now is the result. As Americans, we have to do better as a country.”
Treviño said there is a disconnect between the conversations happening in Washington and what he sees on the ground.
“They should listen and come here to see what the real situation is,” he said. “If they don’t get real-time information and a real perception of what’s going on, I think they can move on and make adequate regulations.”
His comments came days later Title 42 — a pandemic-era emergency rule that allowed the Trump and Biden administrations to deport migrants without a court hearing — is over. A few days before the end of the policy, Customs and Border Protection detentions at the border reached an all-time high.
Treviño called the border crisis a historic problem, but said his city was not yet overwhelmed by migrants. But, he said, “we are still on high alert.” According to him, on Saturday, the city received about 700 migrants, including those from El Paso and Brownsville.
“Until we see the numbers in Border Patrol detention centers going down, we can say the episodes are over,” he said.
Another border city leader, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, told “Face the Nation” Sunday that the federal government is providing the necessary resources to combat the increase. He noted that the Red Cross has helped local aid groups that are overwhelmed.
“We all know the immigration process is broken,” he said. “There are no ifs or buts in this.” But we’re getting the resources we need because our city and the southern border couldn’t do it without federal help.”
Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez of Texas, whose district includes 300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, said he saw detention facilities overcrowded during a visit to El Paso on Friday.
“Everybody says it’s not that bad,” he said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We can’t let ‘not so bad’ be normal. Just this week, a child died in the [Health and Human Services] guardianship”.
A 17-year-old migrant child from Honduras died in prison in Florida last week, officials said, the second such death in two months. Few details were provided about the circumstances.
Gonzalez said the focus should be on legal immigration, and he called on the Biden administration to increase the number of immigration judges so cases can be heard in days instead of years.
“You have [House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy, on the one hand, demonizes those who come illegally. You have [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer on the other side of the Senate, who makes it morally good to help people who come illegally — the ones who are hurt are the people who have legal claims,” he said. “Immigration reform falls further behind when we focus only on the illegal part “.