Washington, D.C. — Solutions to the situation at the southern border were the focus of a roundtable of experts Tuesday.
Speakers offered a variety of solutions that would uphold the rule of law, protect our national security and promote our values of compassion and human dignity.
An audio recording of the roundtable is available. Below are quotes from roundtable participants.
Elizabeth Neumann, Founding Member, Council on National Security and Immigration; former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention:
“It was refreshing to have a discussion on solutions. Today’s conversation demonstrated that there is no shortage of good ideas about how to address the persistent challenge we face on our southern border. We just need Congress to act.”
Jorge Lima, Senior Vice President of Policy, Americans for Prosperity:
“It’s time for Congress to take the issue of immigration more seriously and to act with solutions. With yet another surge at the border and the subject of immigration reform front and center, lawmakers have an opportunity to work together on needed reforms. They can come together on the broad common ground shared by the vast majority of Americans who believe that strengthening our immigration system would also strengthen our country.”
David J. Bier, Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute:
“Current policy leads to more violations of the law and more inhumane treatment. … The bottom line is we need to allow these people to enter the country legally, travel legally, in every way possible.”
Matthew Rooney, Managing Director, Bush Institute – SMU Economic Growth Initiative and Laura Collins, Director, Bush Institute – SMU Economic Growth Initiative:
“Congress needs to acknowledge that getting immigration right is part of border security. We need to stop thinking of border security as a precondition to immigration reform.”
Stephanie Hall, Director of Innovation Policy, National Association of Manufacturers:
“Decades of neglect have weakened every part of our immigration system. But these moments of crisis present a real opportunity for us to fix the system and bring real reform, when America is so focused on the issue. Our plan, A Way Forward, has that goal in mind, and it reminds everyone that we are a nation of immigrants and that immigration was and is critical to making the U.S. a global leader.”
Danilo Zak, Senior Policy & Advocacy Associate, National Immigration Forum:
“Solutions have to begin south of the border. The ideal scenario is where children, families, and other prospective migrants are safe in their home countries, and of course that means addressing the root causes of migration. In terms of processing at the border, the first order of business has to be expanding capacity at state-licensed facilities and ensuring unaccompanied kids are not held in CBP custody. Ultimately, we also need to be better prepared to deal with an unexpected influx in the future — it should not be an ad hoc response every time.”
Kristie De Peña, Vice President & Director of Immigration Policy, Niskanen Center:
“What’s happening now really requires the Biden administration and, pointedly, Congress to revisit how we’re managing both changing demographics and increasing numbers of asylum seekers. … People seeking asylum do not make the U.S. any less secure, and narratives to the contrary either are misinformed or they’re purposefully misleading.”
Monica Weisberg-Stewart, Chairwoman, Texas Border Coalition Immigration and Border Security Committee:
“The situation along the Southern border is tragic, but none of these issues are new. We have seen Washington’s prior approach to dealing with them fail because of party politics. It’s not a Republican or Democrat problem; it’s an American problem that is vastly more complicated by congressional failure to address them. If we do not deal with these issues, the cartels will continue to find our weakest points and exploit women and children, smuggle drugs, and inflict pain on our American way of life.”