Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today joined a bipartisan group of six other senators in visiting the southern border, which included briefings at the McAllen Border Patrol Station, the Hidalgo Bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, and facilities at Lackland Air Force Base currently housing children from Central American who have illegally crossed the southern border. Upon returning to Washington, Fischer released the following statement:
“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues to gather information firsthand from those responsible for apprehending and detaining Central American children illegally crossing our southern border. After visiting both DHS and HHS detention facilities, there is no doubt that once in U.S. custody, these children are treated humanely. There is also no doubt, though, of the severity of this crisis, which is expected to worsen once again as temperatures cool in coming months.
“The U.S. Border Patrol, which has performed remarkably well under recent pressure, is forced to operate less efficiently in order to cope with statutory constraints preventing them from safely and quickly returning these children home. This message of ‘inefficient operation’ was driven home to us time and time again. While additional financial resources are part of the solution, I believe now, more than ever, that changes to current law to expedite the repatriation process are the key to solving this problem.”
Fischer was joined on the trip by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), John Boozman (R-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and John Barrasso (R-WY).
The congressional delegation had the opportunity to meet directly with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and the Chief Border Patrol Agents at the largest and busiest patrol station in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.