HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — A bipartisan delegation called the Problem-Solver Caucus toured the U.S.-Mexico border Monday with the goal of finding “real solutions” to immigration policy, but policy analysts said that there is a lot to consider before accomplishing real change.
Ariel Ruiz-Soto, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said that the current immigration policies are recurrent and need to be reset.
“The bottom line is that we cannot continue to live in this cycle of flows between migrations at the Mexico border,” said Ruiz. “Migration starts at each of these countries and more needs to be done.”
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, proposed setting up in-country processing facilities.
“People can show up in a very humane first-class facility like what we have here or even better and be processed there and if they qualify for asylum they can come to the country,” Gonzalez said.
Ruiz said that working with Mexico and Central America is one important part to the complex immigration system but added safety and space must be considered before making decisions.
“In fact, it has to be based on the capacities of each of these countries to make sure they are able to process migrants for protection and guarantee that they are safe while in that country,” Ruiz said.
A similar program existed under the Obama administration called CAM, or Central American Minor program.
“It allowed minors in Central America who had a parent with legal status in the United States or legal presence in the United States to be able to come to the United States and file from their countries of origin,” Ruiz said.
Gonzalez said that it takes bipartisan effort to truly move the needle on immigration reform.
“We think in order to have a real solution it’s something that has to be done in a bipartisan way,” Gonzalez said.
Ruiz said that it is imperative to have both parties and all countries in question at the table to achieve real change.
“I think it’s absolutely necessary to have both Democrats and Republicans at a table to understand first what the root causes of moving migrants through the United States and Mexico are, but also create regional solutions,” Ruiz said.
The group met with stakeholders such as federal, state, and local law enforcement, humanitarian organizations, and city leaders, and toured ports of entry and processing centers.
In attendance were Gonzalez; Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania; Young Kim, R-California; Tom Suozzi, D-New York; Dan Meuser, R-Pennsylvania; Ed Case, D-Hawaii; Jimmy Panetta, D-California; and Conor Lamb, D-Pennsylvania.
Several of the members spoke of the advantage a bipartisan group would bring to the issue. Each felt that it would take cooperation from both sides of the aisle to find solutions.
Aside from Gonzalez’s suggestion, no further solutions were proposed by the delegation. However, each member continued to reemphasize their commitment to work in a bipartisan manner once they reconvene in Washington.