On Tuesday, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was joined by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas on a tour of two facilities housing migrants in Tucson. Sinema and Cornyn will be in Texas today.
Sinema and Cornyn received a tour of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “soft-sided facility” in Tucson, which is used to house migrants apprehended by Border Patrol.
Cornyn and Sinema then visited the Casa Alitas shelter. The senators received a briefing from Casa Alitas staff. Casa Alitas is operated by Catholic Community Services.
Cornyn, Sinema and U.S. Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23) in April introduced The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, their bipartisan, bicameral legislation to respond to the surge in migrants coming across our southern border.
The sponsors say the bill would “improve both the Department of Homeland Security’s and the Department of Justice’s capacity to manage migration influxes and adjudicate asylum claims in a timely manner, protect unaccompanied migrant children, reduce impact on local communities, ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely, and ultimately deter those who do not have realistic asylum claims from placing themselves in danger by making the treacherous journey to our southern border.”
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act:
- Establishes at least 4 regional processing centers in high-traffic Border Patrol sectors to properly handle the influx of migrants along the southwest border and improve interagency coordination.
- Creates pilot programs to facilitate fairer and more efficient credible fear determinations and asylum decisions, while ensuring fairness in proceedings through provisions to protect access to counsel, language translation services, and legal orientations.
- Establishes prioritized docketing of migrants’ immigration court cases during irregular migration influx events to deliver legal certainty for migrants., and disincentivize would-be migrants with weak asylum claims from making the treacherous journey to the southwest border.
- Expands legal orientation programming and translation services, and protects access to counsel for migrants.
- Implements new protections for unaccompanied migrant children released to sponsors in the United States, including regular follow-up and absolute bars on placement with persons convicted of certain crimes, such as sex offenders and child abusers.
- Increases staffing to better handle irregular migration influx events, including 150 new Immigration Judge teams, 300 asylum officers, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations staff, ICE litigation teams, CBP officers, and Border Patrol processing coordinators.
- Improves DHS coordination with NGOs and local governments to prevent release of migrants into small communities that are poorly equipped to handle the influx of a large number of migrants.
- Improves DHS, DOJ, and HHS reporting to Congress to support future legislative efforts in areas in which bipartisan agreement does not yet exist.
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Immigration Forum, National Border Patrol Council, American Business Immigration Coalition, Major Cities Chiefs Association, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Niskanen Center, Mayor Luis Sifuentes of Eagle Pass, Texas, Texas Border Coalition, Border Trade Alliance, Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, Southwestern Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, Texas Association of Business, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, RGV Partnership, New American Economy, Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative.