On Friday, March 19, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas led a bipartisan Senate delegation to El Paso, Texas to view operations on the southwest border and receive a briefing on the processing, shelter, and transfer of unaccompanied children. The delegation visited the Paso del Norte International Crossing where they were provided with an overview of Port of Entry enforcement activities and a briefing on the wind down of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). They also visited the newly constructed Centralized Processing Center where unaccompanied children and families are processed and sheltered before transfer to Health and Human Services (HHS). The group toured the CHS Trail House Shelter, an Office of Refugee Resettlement facility that provides care for children before they are placed with a family member or sponsor.
The visit concluded with a visit to VA Medical Center where Secretary Mayorkas and the Senators thanked healthcare workers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic and their partnership in vaccinating the DHS workforce.
Throughout the visit, they discussed capacity needs given the number of unaccompanied children and families arriving at our border, the complex challenges of rebuilding our decimated border infrastructure, and the path forward for establishing a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system. Officials also discussed ways to ensure the safety of the workforce and the wellbeing of communities nearby in the face of a global pandemic.
Officials who participated in the trip:
- Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security
- U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chair, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
- U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
- U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security
- U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security