For the past few months, our nation has been shocked by the tens of thousands of Central American women and children flooding across our border illegally. To date, it has been reported that more than 100,000 individuals have crossed the border, nearly half of them being unaccompanied minors. Yet after months of this problem continuing to grow, we are no closer to knowing root causes that lead individuals to risk their health and safety, and how to mitigate this humanitarian crisis.
In response, Speaker Boehner has created a working group tasked with providing the House and the nation with greater clarity and understanding on this issue. I was selected, along with six other members of the House of Representatives to be part of this fact-finding group.
Since its creation, the group has established a clear mission and task set moving forward. First and foremost, the group is directed and working to discern fact from fiction. With a better grasp of the situation as a whole, we will be able to create a clear message for the nation on the true scope of this issue. With this knowledge, the working group will be able to create policy priorities, and suggest to Congress the best path forward to secure our borders and address long-term concerns.
In the last week, the working group has met with the Honduran and Mexican Ambassadors to the United States, conducted a field hearing in Texas, and held discussions with NGOs. The group will also travel on another fact-finding mission. While on the ground, the group will meet with political leaders from multiple nations, US military leadership and other NGOs to gain a more complete understanding of the crisis. For the government to effectively respond humanely and appropriately to this border surge, it is imperative that members of Congress understand what is driving families to make this journey.
I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and the President to address this issue. We must find solutions that treat children and families humanely, while also sending a clear and unified message that this journey should not be attempted for the risk to health and safety is compounded on false promises.
President Obama has publicly stated that he is committed to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. This is the simplest and quickest answer to the current crisis we are facing. Internationally, the United States must have a clear and unified message that entering the US illegally is not worth the physical and monetary toll.
Earlier this week, President Obama requested nearly $4 billion in supplemental spending to address this crisis. More resources are critical to fixing this problem. However, money alone is not the answer. Americans and the world must know that the United States has a plan to solve this problem, and look at how to mitigate and manage the long-term issues facing our border.
Before the working group can make recommendation to Congress, and before Congress can act in accordance with the President, we must know the whole story. I am looking forward to returning to Washington, and helping to separate fact from fiction. Finding the truth will allow Congress to take the needed actions to secure our border, and end this humanitarian crisis. I believe Congress can and should work with the President to address our long-term border needs, while also being able to ensure accountability as the Department of Homeland Security and the President attempt to address the short-term humanitarian crisis.