McALLEN, Texas — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group made up of 28 Democrats and 28 Republicans, got a first-hand look at the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas on Monday. The station is responsible for patrolling 53 miles of U.S.-Mexico border along the Rio Grande.
"We saw a lot of children and a lot of families and a lot of people being exploited," said U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, a New York Democrat. "The federal government, who we all work for, has failed to address this problem for 30 years."
The trip comes after a record surge of nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the border last month. Border officials said they estimate more than one million unaccompanied minors will enter the U.S. illegally this year alone. Immigration reform and border security are a legislative priority for the Problem Solvers Caucus.
"You've got to have compassion for the situation," said U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, who represents Pennsylvania's 9th District, which includes part of Berks County. "On the same note, we hear from the CBP and the law enforcement that if we create an incentive, simply more will come."
This was Meuser's visit to the border as a member of the caucus. He's among the lawmakers who said the Biden Administration's polices create an open border and encourage illegal immigration. He is imploring the president to reinstate certain Trump-era protocols like the remain in Mexico policy
"We cannot afford this to be a situation where immigration reform is whiplash between two parties in Washington, D.C., or between whatever administration or majority comes in," said U.S. Rep. Ed Case, a Hawaii Democrat.
On top of having to work with each other to adopt laws that are consistent and enforceable, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said there needs to be cooperation with countries like Honduras and Guatemala as well as Mexico.
"We need a commitment to lay out a plan and then, together, see it through," Meuser said, "and we need Congress to act."
On Monday, White House officials announced the Biden Administration has reached a deal with Mexico to keep 10,000 Mexican troops on its southern border to help stem the flow of migrants.