National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Border Mayors in Texas Speak about Migrant Children

July 30, 2014

Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg Mayors React to Proposals in Congress

For a recording of today’s call, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
— With both houses of Congress considering supplemental funding bills that address the border and children who have been fleeing to the U.S., mayors from Texas border communities spoke out during a press call today.

On the press call, the mayors of Brownsville, Edinburg and McAllen, who have helped their cities welcome tens of thousands of unaccompanied children over the past several months, spoke to their communities’ real needs and called for a fair and compassionate response:

Mayor Jim Darling, McAllen, Texas:
“From our city’s standpoint, we’re dealing with the family members who have young children in pretty rough shape after their journeys, and who are being processed by Border Patrol and then being released all over the country. We’ve had a lot of generous contributions from all over the country. But it’s clear from my conversations with congressmen and senators that Congress is still very polarized. I wish that they’d get together and reach a middle ground so we can have a successful conclusion on immigration.”

Mayor Ricardo Garcia, Edinburg, Texas:
“I don’t see this as a crisis, I see it as a humanitarian issue. Here in this country, we’ve always embraced vulnerable immigrants. We don’t want to be demonized by a military presence; what we need is funding for the law enforcement agents we have down here to enforce our laws, and for legal protections for the children. For a 10-year-old child to be arguing his case before an immigration judge — this is where we need some money. We need to deal with this situation responsibly.”

Mayor Tony Martinez, Brownsville, Texas:
“What we need to do as a nation is to understand the human rights of all human families. I think it’s imperative that due process is implemented for all children, but some of the legislation we are looking at doesn’t have those provisions. Children shouldn’t be expedited to the point where we don’t have justice. Also, I just don’t see how, if we don’t deal with a long-term immigration reform fix, we won’t see this come up again and again in the future.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:
“These mayors are ensuring that their communities stay welcoming in the midst of an urgent situation. Their focus on the humanity of the children is inspiring. I am thankful for their courage, compassion and commitment.”

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