EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Biden administration should send more immigration judges to border communities like El Paso instead of hundreds of soldiers, as planned, a Republican border congressman says.
“These immigration judges should get these folks that are coming in illegally, get their cases heard in days, not years. And if you don’t qualify for asylum – which right now is nine out of 10 people – you should be sent back to your country of origin,” U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said on Thursday.
The Administration this week confirmed it will send 1,500 troops to border cities in anticipation of the largest migrant surge to date once Title 42 expulsions end on May 11. The soldiers will not engage in immigration enforcement but rather spell Border Patrol agents from video monitoring and logistics, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said earlier.
Gonzales said throwing last-minute resources will not solve the crisis and will only increase the number of people in America whose immigration status is in limbo because of court backlogs. The average wait for immigration case resolution is 762 days right now, compared to 562 in 2013, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
Speaking at a joint town hall meeting with El Paso City Rep. Joe Molinar in Northeast El Paso, Gonzales praised the city’s efforts to deal with migrants who are released by federal authorities on parole pending an appearance in federal U.S. court.
But he criticized Biden administration’s non-proactive policies that only seem to prolong the crisis.
“I don’t’ believe in giving (the Department of Homeland Security) a blank check,” Gonzales said. “They’re counting what’s happening on the border as a hurricane […] but a hurricane hits you for a day, a couple of days, maybe a week. It doesn’t hit you for three years. There can’t be an endless hurricane; there can’t be an endless amount of money.”
He was referring to the hundreds of migrants, many of them undocumented, staying on the streets of El Paso around a Catholic church on Oregon Street.
Gonzales said the administration should enforce immigration laws and Democrats and Republicans in Congress compromise on immigration reform rather than berate the other party for not going along with its proposals.
If that won’t happen, a hefty temporary work-visa program could alleviate the situation, “especially if all these folks want is work,” he said.