The ongoing crisis at the border continues to be a major focus in Washington, D.C., as discussions in the House and Senate revolve around the decision of linking border funding with aid for Ukraine and Israel. In order to gain a firsthand understanding of the situation, a bipartisan delegation of Texas lawmakers, including ABC13, visited McAllen.
During our tour, Eyewitness News witnessed a group of 22 migrants voluntarily surrendering themselves at the wall. The group consisted of men, women, and young children, including a 16-month-old baby in pajamas. After their encounter at the wall, the migrants were transported by bus to one of the processing centers in the area. If they chose to declare asylum, there was a possibility of being released and permitted to remain in the United States until a court made a decision, which could take several years.
The process repeats itself persistently, night after night, extending into the morning.
Border towns along the 1,254-mile stretch where Texas meets Mexico are filled with evidence of illegal crossings.
In November, Texas witnessed over 111,000 encounters between migrants and Customs and Border Protection. These migrants hail from various regions, including Central and South America, China, Russia, and the Middle East.
Chris Cabrera, a veteran Border Patrol agent affiliated with the national union, recently provided ABC13 with an exclusive tour and shared his insightful perspective on the issues plaguing the system.
Cabrera posed a thought-provoking question: when faced with an overflowing sink, do you simply grab a mop, or do you take the time to turn off the water?
Leading the congressional delegation is Michael McCaul, a Texas congressman who represents parts of Houston, College Station, and Austin. As the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he is heading a bipartisan effort to address the issue at hand.
According to McCaul, it is crucial to address national security matters with a unified voice as a nation. In an interview with ABC13, he expressed his belief that the current situation undermines the entire country and poses a threat to the very essence of our nation. McCaul described it as a human tragedy.
Joining him is Monica De La Cruz, a first-term congresswoman who not only represents this district but also has a broader perspective.
She emphasized that ultimately, this issue is one that impacts every American citizen. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Brownsville, McAllen, Texas or New York City – it affects all of us.
Henry Cuellar, the only Democrat, stated that other parts of the country are finally realizing what border towns have been aware of for years.
Cuellar emphasized that people often have a different perspective when the issue of migrants hits closer to home. While many may express support for allowing migrants into the country, their stance may change when faced with the actual consequences in their own communities. Cuellar mentioned that cities like New York, Chicago, and D.C. are realizing the challenges they would face if they were to handle such a situation. The distance between these cities and the border creates a disconnect that makes it difficult for them to fully comprehend the impact of the migrant crisis.
Randy Weber, a Republican, is hopeful that Congress will take action.
According to him, the American people are starting to become more aware.
Weber and the rest of the delegation journey from the border to Mexico City, in search of assistance to halt the influx of migrants before they reach the border.