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Office Hours: Experts Join Rep. Escobar to Deconstruct the Border Narrative

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You can listen to a recording of the call here


Earlier today, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) joined two key experts to shine light on what is really going on at the border and what the media and critics are missing from this storyline. While this “crisis at the border” and “surge” narrative has been at the forefront of the political conversation, speakers on the call told a more nuanced story to deconstruct the current situation at the border. 

Anytime we see more individuals, families, children arriving at our doorstep more than normal there’s a rush to call it a ‘crisis’. The same situation plays out year-in and year-out,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), said. “Over the decades we’ve seen communities like El Paso become more and more militarized, yet immigration reform becomes more elusive. Republicans are at every turn going to denounce President Joe Biden. They’re going to say President Trump’s policies were working without truly examining the consequences. The reason we need to address this once and for all and address it at the root causes is because of the misery that is being created outside of our front door. This is a really challenging issue that will take time, and patience, and resources, and courage.”

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Counsel, American Immigration Council, said, “Children seeking our protection are not a security crisis, but they do present a logistical challenge to ensure they don’t become stuck in appalling conditions in Border Patrol custody. Thankfully, the Biden administration appears to be working night and day to solve that challenge. At the same time, we must not forget that seeking asylum is legal and turning families away is not. But most importantly, we must remember that we’ve been here before. The last seven years have shown us that deterrence doesn’t work, and the only way forward is to actually fix the humanitarian protection systems which the previous administration left in tatters.”

Tom K. Wong, Associate Professor & Founding Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at UC San Diego, said, “Nearly a decade of publicly available data from CBP show clear seasonal trends in apprehensions at the southern border. If we can better understand this seasonality, we can better prepare in the future so that images of kids in cages can be a remnant of our immigration policy past. If there is a crisis, it is a crisis of conscience: are we a country that turns away those in need, or are we a country that – at the very least – provides due process to children and those seeking protection from persecution.”