In the News

20 Democratic members of Congress travel to McAllen one day after VP Pence

McAllen, TX, July 13, 2019
Originally posted in Valley Central

A group of 20 members of Congress are currently in the Rio Grande Valley touring immigration facilities less than one day after Vice President Mike Pence and a congressional delegation traveled to McAllen.

 

On Saturday morning, a press conference led by Congressman Jackie Speier (D-California) spoke about the conditions they have seen thus far.

The delegation included Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Californai), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-California), Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-New York), Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pennsylvia), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-California), Rep. David Price (D-North Carolina), Rep. Andy Levin (D-Michigan), Rep. Annie Kuster (D-New Hampshire), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Deleware), Rep. Scott Peters (D-California), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin), Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Washington), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-California), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-California), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-New York).

Speier said that it has been a “profound experience to be here and we no doubt have a humanitarian crisis that we have not gotten a handle on. I think what we saw was a situation where adult men were housed in cells that would normally accommodate five or six and there might have been 40 in those cells. They have not washed in 40 days, they have not brushed their teeth and those are circumstances that we can’t tolerate because prisoners in our country get better healthcare than that.”

Speier said that there are several things that need to be observed:

“The facilities are way overpopulated, it’s inhumane and we’ve got to move these populations to other locations.”

“We need to go to the Northern Triangle and find out what are the resources that are needed there so that these families and these young adults can feel that they can make a living there and get the resources there they need as well.”

“We have to restore some kind of process to the way people come to this country.”

“We intend to go home to Washington, D.C. and develop and we’re going to develop a legislative package that we’re going to suggest to all of our colleagues is the very first thing we need to do to address this humanitarian crisis,” said Speier.

Vicente Gonzalez, who represents the Rio Grande Valley, said that “We need to get to the root of the problem. And the root is bringing stability and economic opportunity to the three Central American countries that most of the migration is coming from.”

During an interview with Gonzalez, he was asked if they were invited to travel to McAllen with the Vice President on Friday, he said no.

The congressmen will be heading to other facilities in the Rio Grande Valley and will head to the Brownsville Gateway Bridge for another press conference and they’ll cross the bridge into Mexico.