Haaland Travels to the Border with Democratic Delegation

February 11, 2019
Press Release
Delegation of House Democrats Seeking Solutions to Fix Broken Immigration System, Avoid Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) visited Texas and New Mexico on Saturday with Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Deb Haaland (NM-01), and Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05).  Together, they toured sections of the border with Customs and Border Patrol personnel, sat down with local advocates representing migrants fleeing violence and seeking asylum under our laws, and visited a hospitality center for migrants managed by the non-profit Annunciation House.  

Returning to Washington this week, Democratic lawmakers will work to keep the government open while providing for smart border security that is strategic and cost-effective, unlike the expensive and ineffective wall President Trump has proposed.  The trip occurred just as President Trump is scheduled to visit El Paso to hold a campaign rally on Monday. 

“Democrats are for smart border security,” Majority Leader Hoyer said, “and we are for making sure that our immigration and asylum policies reflect our nation’s values. Yesterday, we heard from both border security personnel and migrant advocates, and what was clear from our visit was that we face challenges at the Southern border, but we do not have a crisis that demands a costly and ineffective wall. I was pleased to have been joined by this outstanding group of new Members and to have been hosted by Reps. Escobar and Torres Small in their districts.  While Democrats were at the border yesterday to listen and find effective solutions to the challenges we face, I am disappointed the President is heading to El Paso tomorrow for a campaign rally to demagogue and divide.  Democrats will continue to work to identify the best ways to secure our border and treat migrants with the dignity and humanity they deserve.”

“The border region is beautiful and complex,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “This new House Democratic majority is committed to understanding border communities like El Paso, and creating smart and humane policies to tackle our changing security and humanitarian challenges. I’m grateful to Congresswoman Torres Small for joining me in this effort to welcome Leader Hoyer, and Congresswomen Haaland and Scanlon to experience firsthand these challenges and hear directly from those affected by President Trump’s divisive policies. Now more than ever, our nation needs committed leaders like my colleagues to come to our southern border to see the full and complete picture.”

"I believe in border security. Our border needs to be a place that is both strong and vibrant, and yesterday’s tour illustrated why we need border security— in the form of strong, smart investments as well as a clear and moral immigration system,” said Congresswoman Torres Small. "I look forward to working with the colleagues who joined me yesterday and those across the aisle as we continue to work on this issue moving forward."

“New Mexico is my home and I know the border is not a scary place. The Trump administration’s account of the border is inaccurate and divisive. The unlawful decisions made by this administration have needlessly made it increasingly dangerous for families fleeing violence and economic unrest in their countries to exercise their legal right to seek asylum,” said Congresswoman Haaland. “With the information we got today and the things I’ve seen, it’s clear that we need a comprehensive approach that recognizes the humanity and dignity of the people seeking a better life in our country. It’s more effective to invest in more staff and resources to process families crossing the border and technology to secure our border than it is to waste billions of dollars on a wall.”

“In order to truly understand the challenges we face at our border, you have to experience it first hand,” said Congresswoman Scanlon. “From asylum seekers and immigrants fleeing violence, to the importance of supporting our border patrol agents with modern technology and resources, one thing this clear: This is a complex challenge that requires multi-pronged policy solutions. Our diversity not only makes us stronger but is the foundation of who we are as Americans. We can protect our borders while addressing the very real humanitarian crisis. I am so grateful to my colleagues for the opportunity to join them on this insightful trip."