Hidalgo County, TX…On April 13th, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) released the following statement after completing his fifth trip to the Southern Border, his second trip in two weeks. “It is clear that our immigration system is broken and in urgent need of immediate reform to restore compassion, security, and clarity,” said Congressman Panetta. “This most recent fact-finding trip to our Southern Border further provided the evidence and justification that my colleagues and I need to push for complete immigration reform in Congress. Although we in the House of Representatives recently passed legislation to protect Dreamers, TPS recipients, and farmworkers in our country, the Senate needs to act on those bills, the administration needs to provide more resources for order at our border, and countries from Mexico to the Northern Triangle must do more to help stem the flow of those fleeing violence, economic disparity, and the effects of climate change. Despite the intense and sobering nature of these types of visits to the Southern Border, they continue to motivate and energize me to continue the fight to bring our immigration system into the 21st century.”
Congressman Panetta and a bipartisan group of colleagues from the United States Congress Problem Solvers Caucus visited the following during their trip to the Southern Border:
- Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center, which provides care to refugees and their families from other countries seeking asylum in the United States.
- Anzalduas Park in Mission, TX for a ride along with local law enforcement to observe an average work day in the border community.
- McAllen Border Patrol Station, which is responsible for patrolling 53 miles of the Rio Grande and processing all who come to the border within its jurisdiction.
- Donna Land Port of Entry, a crossing that connects Donna, TX with Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
- Donna Soft-sided Facility, a Customs and Border Patrol facility that processes individuals, including unaccompanied minors, in U.S. Border Patrol custody.
- Rio Grande for a boat tour with Operation Lone Star, which integrates the Texas Department of Public Safety with the Texas National Guard to deploy air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into the state.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers also met with Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, Hidalgo County Sheriff Guerra, Hidalgo County District Attorney Rodriguez, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, Police Chiefs from the cities of McAllen, Mission, Donna, and Pharr to hear their experiences adjudicating and responding to immigrants attempting to cross the Southern Border.
This year, Congressman Panetta authored and co-led the House passage of his Farm Workforce Modernization Act and supported the American Dream and Promise Act. He also helped introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that would create a pathway to citizenship for deserving immigrants, responsibly manage and secure the southern border, keep communities safe and families together, and better manage migration across the hemisphere.