September 21, 2014

Sen. Fischer returns after visiting southern border

United States Sen. Deb Fischer has returned to Washington from a trip to the southern border.

Fischer joined a bipartisan group of six senators traveling to the border. The group received briefings at the McAllen Border Patrol Station, the Hidalgo Bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, and facilities at Lackland Air Force Base. The base is housing some of the nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who have illegally crossed the southern border.

Upon her return, Fischer released the following statement:

“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues to gather information firsthand from those responsible for apprehending and detaining Central American children illegally crossing our southern border. After visiting both DHS and HHS detention facilities, there is no doubt that once in U.S. custody, these children are treated humanely. There is also no doubt, though, of the severity of this crisis, which is expected to worsen once again as temperatures cool in coming months.

“The U.S. Border Patrol, which has performed remarkably well under recent pressure, is forced to operate less efficiently in order to cope with statutory constraints preventing them from safely and quickly returning these children home. This message of ‘inefficient operation’ was driven home to us time and time again. While additional financial resources are part of the solution, I believe now, more than ever, that changes to current law to expedite the repatriation process are the key to solving this problem.”

The group of senators who visited the border included Republicans John Cornyn of Texas, Susan Collins of Maine, John Boozman of Arkansas, and John Barrasso of Wyoming. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Independent Angus King of Maine also went on the trip.

The delegation met with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and the Chief Border Patrol Agents.