House Delegation tours borderland to learn needs and culture
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX 14) —
The deadline for funding the government is less than a week out, and President Trump is maintaining a strong stance on funding for a border wall.
Democrat leaders from across the country are in El Paso analyzing if a wall is necessary.
El Paso congresswoman Veronica Escobar, and New Mexico Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, led a group of Democrats on a tour around the borderland on Saturday.
All who KFOX 14 spoke with said they came with an open mind to learn.
All eyes are on the House delegation, and their eyes – on the borderland.
"There's a lot of debate about what we need to do on the border," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer.
Hoyer is just one of three visitors from out of town touring the area.
"We came to El Paso, and we found it to be safe," he said.
Walking through detention facilities, meeting with Immigration and Custom Enforcement, immigration advocates, and getting a briefing from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all have their own takeaways from the experience.
"We met a mother who had just been reunited with her children last night after being separated for four months," said District 5 Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. "And seeing her still crying, and seeing her children trying to adjust to the situation having just the whole array of experiences, it's been a long day, but one that was really, really useful."
"What I did learn by speaking to federal agents on the border is that we could use more technology, we could use more immigration judges," said District 1 New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland.
Overall, the House delegation agrees the border and a solution to its security is complex.
"What we heard from everyone is that there needs to be more listening to the stakeholders who are here, the men and women of our law enforcement," said Scanlon.
Congresswoman Escobar, and Rep.Torres Small said they're trying to open the eyes of outsiders to give perspective.
"This is the third that I have been on where people who didn't live along the border came to visit it with an open mind, looked at the challenges that we faced," said Torres Small.
Escobar said there is a conference committee that's been working on coming up with a comprehensive bill, that can get bipartisan support.