EL PASO – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) toured the U.S.-Mexico border yesterday, assessing security and counter-narcotics operations as well as the processing of undocumented migrants crossing into the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security led the Senators in a number of briefings and site visits, which included the international border between Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico – known as Monument One – a migrant processing facility, and one of the vehicle and pedestrian ports of entry between the two countries.
“President Trump’s proposal for ‘building a wall’ is completely divorced from the geographic, human, and economic reality on the border. To better combat narcotics trafficking, the United States should prioritize new investments in technology along the border and at our ports of entry, as well as greater intelligence and law enforcement collaboration with our Mexican partners. The President’s rhetoric weakens our ability to effectively work with Mexico, and does not make America safer,” Senator Cardin said. “Our trip to the border provided first-hand evidence that the United States needs comprehensive immigration reform now more than ever, and Senate Democrats remain committed to working with our Republican colleagues to advance strong, smart, humane border security measures as part of such an overhaul. I’m grateful to the men and women who work day in and day out to keep this country safe.”
“We can and must produce border policies that are rational and feasible,” Senator Merkley said. “Our strategy on the border should be designed to address our security and stop the flow of illegal drugs. President Trump’s unilateral focus on the wall is poorly conceived. The thousands of border officials working day and night to protect our nation know what works and what doesn’t. We should listen to them and develop effective.”
“Building a wall is not a comprehensive plan to address our nation’s opioid crisis, nor does it represent the comprehensive immigration reform that will help put millions on a pathway to citizenship. President Trump’s divisive rhetoric only makes it harder to work with Mexico and our international partners to address these critical cross-border issues. Instead of building walls, we need to build bridges with Mexico to ensure we stop the deadly flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that is devastating Massachusetts,” Senator Markey said. “I was honored to meet and talk with the men and women on the ground at the border who work every day to keep this country safe. I thank them for their service and pledge to work with them to get the resources they need.”
Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was leading his colleagues on a delegation that had previously travelled to Mexico City for meetings and dialogue with members of the Mexican Cabinet, Senate, and civil society.