House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, spoke at a field hearing he assembled in McAllen, Texas. The stage was set in the Rio Grande Valley, which has been a focus point for the immigrant surge. Texas Governor Rick Perry and other state officials testified at the hearing.
“Our military bases are turning into refugee camps. I never thought I’d see this in the United States of America,” McCaul said.
Fox News reported Texas officials appealed to the Obama administration to secure the U.S.-Mexico border once and for all as an abundance of illegal immigrant children overwhelm the system.
“Secure this border, Mr. President,” Perry urged in his opening remarks. He announced recently that Texas will launch a $1.3 million-per-week to send state agents from the Department of Public Safety to help police the border. He has argued that the federal government needs to step it up and build a larger Texas National Guard contingent.
While President Obama has requested additional authority to speed up deportations, the federal government is struggling in its housing efforts of illegal immigrant minors. Waiting on immigration proceedings, they are spread out among numerous facilities, including military bases like Ft. Sill in Oklahoma and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
Despite advocacy cries for a humanitarian response, McCaul and Perry argue that it is time to send a tough message by deporting illegal immigrants caught crossing the border. They argue allowing them to stay is not the humane thing to do.
Perry stated, “Allowing them to remain here will only encourage the next group of individuals to undertake this very dangerous trip.”
“These children are often subjected to beatings, starvation, sexual assault and are at risk of being trafficked,’ McCaul said.
According to Fox News, tensions are escalating in communities like California where dozens of U.S. protesters blocked Homeland Security buses carrying migrant families on route to a San Diego processing center. The buses had to be rerouted to another facility in the area.
When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the Texas hearing, he stated that the President is committed to enforcing the law. He reminded press and lawmakers that the law requires the provision of basic humanitarian needs for children caught crossing the border.
“That’s why the president has asked for additional resources from Congress to open detention facilities across the country, where these individuals can be housed in humane conditions,” he said.
With over 52,000 unaccompanied children being detained after crossing the border since October, many minors are risking the journey to join their parents who are already in the U.S. illegally according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. He also stated that there needs to be tougher consequences and the crisis must be addressed with deterrence.