29 Apr Statement on the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act in Immigration
Last week, a bipartisan and bicameral bill to reform the processing of migrants, particularly families and children at the border, was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX). BPC Action salutes these members for working together on practical solutions to managing migration at the border.
The bill includes several recommendations that have been made by BPC over the last several years to manage migration, including the idea of involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the border, creating Regional Processing Centers along the border that incorporate interagency staff from Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement as well as providing access to counsel and legal orientation programs and health screenings. The bill would also allow the Department of Homeland Security to create pilot programs that would provide for fair and efficient asylum processing for migrants, including allowing USCIS asylum officers to adjudicate cases in the first instance, and having immigration courts prioritize cases during an “irregular migrant influx event,” a condition that is defined similarly to the concept of an “extraordinary migration event” we discussed in BPC’s 2019 Immigration FEMA paper.
These provisions recognize the need to re-create our border management infrastructure, processes, and personnel to address changes in migration at the U.S.-Mexico border that represent a significant and persistent shift over the last decade. These changes would allow the government to better manage migration along the border, ensuring that migrants receive humane treatment and a fair opportunity to make their case for protection, while also retaining resources of border agencies to remain vigilant for criminal activity.
BPC Action supports these efforts and looks forward to working with these members and Congress on addressing migration and securing the border into the future.