Durbin Visits Southwest Border To View Migrant Detention Facilities

MCALLEN—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, was in McAllen, Texas, today with a group of Senate Democrats to get a firsthand look at the humanitarian crisis on the southwest border.  Durbin toured McAllen Border Patrol Stations Donna and Ursula to evaluate the conditions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities and meet with immigrant families and children currently being held in detention. 

“Americans know that our immigration system is broken and the President’s solution is to detain children for longer periods of time.  You can’t walk into these facilities, and see the situation these children are in, and believe it will be better for them, and better for America, for them to stay in detention,” Durbin said. “The President also wants to change the definition of asylum – a definition that applies across the board around the world.  We need to make certain the United States stands by its values, values we’ve stood by for over 70 years since World War II when we learned a bitter lesson about turning away refugees.  We have to have a system and policy that reflects the values of this country.”

While in McAllen, Durbin also met with border community leaders, including Sister Norma Pimentel, the director of Catholic Charities Respite Center.   

“We will remember especially what we saw with Sister Norma. When these young people and their families are treated with dignity, respect, and love, it is an amazing thing to witness,” Durbin continued.

Photos from Durbin’s visit to Catholic Charities are available here.

In April, Durbin visited Paso del Norte Port of Entry, in El Paso, Texas, to tour CBP facilities. Following his visit, he wrote an op-ed detailing what he saw.

Durbin has a long record of advocating for immigration policies that keep families together, safeguard the rights of American and immigrant workers, and boost the U.S. economy.  Nineteen years ago, he introduced the original Dream Act to give young immigrants who grew up in this country a path to citizenship.  In April 2010, he became the first member of Congress to call for the establishment of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  Durbin was also a member of the “Gang of 8” Republicans and Democrats that authored comprehensive immigration legislation that passed the Senate in 2013.