Problem Solvers Caucus Members Return From Bipartisan Visit to Southern Border

July 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Last Friday, members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus visited McAllen, TX to see facilities and conditions at the southern border. The trip was led by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA). Members visited the Donna Holding Facility for family units and unaccompanied children, the Port of Entry in Hidalgo, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) living and learning center for unaccompanied minors run by the non-profit BCFS, and the McAllen Central Processing Center.

After the visit, the Members sat together to continue the Caucus’s discussions of potential solutions that members of both parties could support. Afterward, the group held a press conference that can be viewed here.

Rep. Phillips and Rep. Smucker will be leading an immigration working group within the Problem Solvers Caucus to develop proposals. The group will begin meeting following the August district work period.

“Our broken border and immigration system is not the fault of Democrats or Republicans. It is due to a failure of leadership from career politicians who have put political wins above the needs of our country. But as politicians point fingers, people we should all care about are not being treated fairly. Congress must sit down and have hard discussions about ensuring our border is safe and our immigration system is fixed.” Said Congressman Tom Reed, Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

“This was my second trip to the border this summer, and it strengthened my commitment to ensure better conditions for migrant children and families,” said Rep. Dean Phillips. “Democrats and Republicans in Congress and multiple White Houses have failed everyone involved in this ongoing crisis. It is my hope that our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus can finally break the gridlock and find thoughtful solutions to fix our broken immigration system.”

“I co-led this trip with Rep. Phillips because we needed to see first-hand the crisis at our southern border. We saw, with our own eyes, the strain on our border patrol agents dealing with unprecedented levels of migration. We heard the stories of those who journeyed in hopes of living out their American Dream. We must work together to put forth commonsense policies that ensure operational control of our border and fix our broken immigration system. Congress can no longer fail to address this crisis – it is up to us. I am hopeful the Problem Solvers Caucus can find bold, bipartisan solutions to this critical issue,” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker.  

“Our visit to the southern border was incredibly sobering, and the border crisis will only get worse by doing nothing. I have heard from countless folks at home that one of their number one concerns is immigration. They want our border secure, they care about our nation’s security, and they are deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis that is overwhelming our broken immigration system. The Problem Solvers Caucus went down to the southern border as part of a fact-finding mission. We wanted to see firsthand the challenges our border patrol agents are facing and hear from them directly about what work still needs to be done. The folks I traveled with have some good suggestions about how we can address the crisis and secure our borders. We are committed to working together on finding a solution that makes up for the failures of the past.” Said Rep. Fred Upton.

“I came away from this trip acutely aware of how broken our immigration system is, and remain more committed than ever to be part of the solution to fix that system, said Rep. Susie Lee. “It is clear that we have not invested enough in our border security, the safety of those legally trying to immigrate to our country, or the resources that are needed to process legal asylum claims. I saw firsthand the challenges facing Customs and Border Protection Officers. If we’re going to fix our broken immigration system, we need a comprehensive solution that ensures both a fair, efficient pathway to legal citizenship for immigrants and resources for border security and enforcement. We cannot allow politics to prevent progress in reforming our immigration system, and that’s why a bipartisan effort is the only way forward. I am confident that we will work together and live up to our caucus’s name and solve this problem.”

“My visit to the border was very informative and moving. Seeing the situation that immigrants, those caring for them, and border patrol officers are dealing with and having the opportunity to speak with people and ask questions gave me an even better understanding of what they are all facing,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3). “This was not only a fact-finding mission, but also an opportunity to take what we learned and further discuss what Congress can do to help address this humanitarian crisis. It was very valuable making this visit with the Problem Solvers Caucus and focusing on putting politics aside to work toward solutions.”

“It is an invaluable experience to see the crisis at the southern border firsthand. This visit reaffirmed that our immigration system is flawed, and it is imperative that we act on a bipartisan basis to remedy this crisis,” said Congressman Dan Meuser. “Specifically, I recommend that we construct physical border security, enact tougher asylum laws, and locate asylum processing centers in Mexico. Not only are we facing a national security crisis, but we also face a humanitarian crisis. We must work together to deliver results.”

Congressman Kurt Schrader said, “Last week, on my visit to the southern border with the Problem Solvers Caucus, my colleagues and I had honest discussions with immigration officials, non-profits and migrants seeking asylum in the United States. These conversations were not always easy, but my Problem Solvers colleagues and I remain steadfast in our commitment to finding solutions that can be agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats alike. We were all moved by the stories of those seeking better lives with more opportunities here in America and we will work to put together legislation that will ensure there are adequate facilities, a reduced backlog of asylum cases and the availability of food and health resources for asylum seekers.”

"The humanitarian and national security crisis at the border should not be a partisan issue. Fixing the loopholes in our immigration system should not be a partisan issue. Supplying our border patrol officials with the resources they need to handle the influx of migrants seeking asylum should not be a partisan issue. I am encouraged my Problem Solvers Caucus colleagues continue to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. It is time for Congress to get together and have the tough conservations about how we solve our broken immigration system," said Congressman Steve Watkins.

“I have long said that Congress needs to come together beyond the partisan rhetoric to move conversations forward and propose bipartisan solutions to our nation’s big problems. Our immigration system is broken, but during my visit to the border and our bipartisan policy conversations, one thing was abundantly clear – we agree on far more solutions for our immigration crisis than we disagree on. As we move forward, it is imperative that we act on the issues we can find consensus on to improve the situation at our southern border and fix our broken immigration system for generations to come,” said Congressman Anthony Gonzalez.

 

Click here to view the full press conference that followed the group discussion

 

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprising 48 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY).

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