A day after President Joe Biden visited El Paso, US Senator John Cornyn led a bipartisan group of senators in El Paso to call for immigration reform.
The Texas Republican senator echoed the language used by Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorcas in their calls for Congress to overhaul the country’s outdated immigration laws.
“We need a safe, orderly, humane and legal immigration system,” Kornin said. “Right now, this mass of humanity crossing the border is not entering the country through an orderly or legal process. We’re trying to deal with it. That’s why you keep hearing from President Biden, Secretary of State Majorcas and others that they need Congress to come up and give some answers.”
Cornyn said the bipartisan delegation of senators from around the country is “interested in finding answers to the questions that are being asked when it comes to dealing with the current crisis at the border.”
The delegation included US Senators Kirsten Cinema, Arizona; James Lankford, Oklahoma State; Mark Kelly, Arizona State; Tom Tillis, NC State; Chris Murphy, Connecticut; Jerry Moran, Kansas State; and Chris Koons, Delaware.
The senators visited Bassett High School, which the city turned into a temporary refuge for migrants in December due to an influx of asylum seekers on the border with El Paso. They listened to city and county leaders and other stakeholders, including immigrant rights advocates, law enforcement officials and members of the business community.
“We have a 1,200-mile border with Mexico,” Kornin said. “We are at the epicenter when it comes to the border crisis we are facing. We’ve heard from a lot of stakeholders, people who live and work here along the border who have to deal with this mass of humanity crossing the border.”
President Biden El Paso: “How Can I Help?”
On Monday, the school-turned-shelter was empty, a testament to how quickly migration patterns can change.
The El Paso Border Patrol sector saw an average of about 700 asylum seekers and other migrants in January, according to US Customs and Border Protection, up from a peak average of 2,500 at the end of last year.
It was expected that the senators would take part in a “night tour” of the border with law enforcement agencies. On Tuesday, they were supposed to travel to Arizona, where Cinema will host a cross-border tour of her state.
This story is being updated.