U.S., Mexican legislators meet in McAllen to talk immigrant crisis

U.S., Mexican legislators meet in McAllen to talk immigrant crisis

by Lorenzo Zazueta

U.S. and Mexican legislators alongside U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa on Friday toured holding facilities that serve the unaccompanied minors who have been coming into the Rio Grande Valley.

U.S. Reps. Mark Takano, D-Calif., Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., Mike Honda, D-Calif., and several members of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies — that country’s equivalent of the House of Representatives — met Friday to discuss how they could work together between governmental bodies to solve the issue of unaccompanied minors.

Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, said since July the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the Valley has decreased by 50 percent.

The number of unaccompanied minors in the Southwest Border has gone from more than 10,628 in June to 5,508 in July and the trend is expected to continue in August according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security.

Hinojosa said he believes the reason the amount of unaccompanied minors making the journey has decreased has to do with cooperation with officials in Central America. At the same time, Mexico has stepped up enforcement along common immigrant smuggling routes, including on the freight train known as La Bestia — the beast — frequented by many Central Americans passing through.

Hinojosa said the presidents of these Central American countries met with President Obama and were advised to communicate the correct information to their citizens.

“The presidents of each of the sending countries are giving the message to their people that they have been misinformed by smuggling organizations about being welcome in the United States and by clarifying that information a lot of families have stopped coming,” he said. “It’s been very effective.”

Hinojosa added that even though the numbers are decreasing it is important that Congress address comprehensive immigration reform as a way to solve broad immigration issues.

Takano said that by addressing the underlying issues in Central America with the Mexican government, U.S. officials they can find a long-term solution to immigration influx into the U.S. and Mexico.

But a solution may not come anytime soon.

The U.S. Congress reconvenes Sept. 8, but Hinojosa said he doesn’t believe any substantial immigration bill will pass in the two weeks that legislators are set to be at work.

President Barack Obama said in June that he would announce executive actions he’d take to help the immigration crisis without Congress. But on Thursday, he backed off that notion, saying he’d wait until after the November elections.

“Boehner is not going to allow immigration legislation to come before the House during the period between now and the elections and probably not allow it during the lame duck session,” he said. “Consequently it’s up to the president to use his presidential powers and authority to give us some relief.”


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