EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — As the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border continues, lawmakers are increasingly calling for answers.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made his way to El Paso to see for himself the situation at the border.
Mayorkas and a group of bipartisan senators visited El Paso in connection with ongoing challenges at the southern border.
Mayorkas was seen touring the border patrol station on Hondo Pass.
This visit from Secretary Mayorkas comes as the Biden administration faces tough scrutiny amid a surge in migrants at the southern border.
"We’ve got one of the largest amounts of unaccompanied children that we’ve ever had. That’s different from the refugees last time that we had more families that were coming through. Now we’ve got 900 and something children," said County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The trip was closed off to press due to privacy and COVID-19 restrictions, but El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said that even though El Paso has been taking on the responsibility when it comes to the incoming migrants Mayorkas did not meet with local leaders.
“It’s not sustainable. We need the federal government to have a partnership. It’s an unfunded mandate. They’re asking us to do so much as a community. You’ve got people like Ruben Garcia, Annunciation house that do amazing things but it’s not fair. We need the federal government to step in and say this is what we can do, and this is what you can do,” said Samaniego.
Samaniego said local leaders have been preparing for a surge for the past two months and he believes it would’ve made a huge difference to be able to have a discussion with higher-ups about the needs the borderland is currently facing.
"With the COVID factor it’s the same situation on steroids and it’s very challenging. I think we’re right there at the breaking point if we don’t do something about it and sit down at the table and start fixing things,” said Samaniego.
Mayorkas said he saw the work CBP does firsthand to keep the border secure. He also thanked the lawmakers who accompanied him.
Samaniego said Mayorkas is leaving with just half the information.
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