WASHINGTON (GrayDC) Rep. Will Hurd said federal agents are overwhelmed at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He said, last month alone, 100,000 people crossed illegally into the U.S. Yet, for perspective, he said in all of last year, 400,000 people crossed the border.
Late last week, President Trump mentioned the idea of closing the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with the influx of Central American migrants seeking asylum. Critics say the border closure would be detrimental to the economy. The president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas Lance Jungmeyer said 11,000 to 12,000 commercial trucks cross the border at Nogales each day.
But the Congressman said, even if the border were closed, the people would still head to the U.S. border.
“If we were to close the border, what would happen is you’re still having people show up and surrender themselves to U.S. officials. April is gonna see more folks probably than we saw in March. Also in April, it’s gonna start getting hot in Texas," he said.
But Hurd said the crisis spreads beyond Mexico.
“The long term problem though is violence and lack of economic opportunity in the northern triangle, that’s El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This is not just a U.S. problem. This is not just a Mexico problem. This is a problem for the entire Western Hemisphere," the Congressman said.
He said there is no overnight solution, but he recommends a combination of short term and long term options to alleviate the current situation. Hurd said, in the short term, many of the jobs caring for the migrants can be contracted out of Homeland Security.
"We have to start asking Congress for additional money to improve our immigration judicial system. There's an almost 900,000 person backlog," Hurd explained.
The Congressman said he would like to see intel improvements on how the groups moving migrants through the countries, as well.