During Visit to Southwest Border, Durbin Talks Border Security With Customs Officials, Border Community Leaders

EL PASO — U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, was in El Paso, Texas, today to get a firsthand look at the situation on the southwest border.  Durbin spent time with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry, where he received an overview of port operations, including the processing of unaccompanied minors, vehicle processing, and Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) systems, which help detect drugs and other illicit goods transported through legal ports of entry.  As a member of the Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Appropriations Conference Committee, Durbin helped secure $564 million for NII technology and 600 CBP officers.

“President Trump’s border policies have failed.  His fixation with a wall and his non-stop attacks on Mexico have made our border less secure,” Durbin said.  “Today’s visit underscored the need for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform – which includes smart, effective, and humane border security.  President Trump’s fear-mongering approach to those who come to our border, many of whom are just seeking safe haven as many of our ancestors did, does not make us safer and is not representative of America or our heritage.”

Photos of Durbin’s visit are available here.

While in El Paso, Durbin also met with border community leaders, including Ruben Garcia, founder and director of Annunciation House, a nonprofit organization known as the “Ellis Island of the southwest border” that has sheltered migrants for more than 40 years.

“Meeting with these border community leaders today reminded me that Americans are a kind and compassionate people, welcoming and caring for those in need,” Durbin said.  “These leaders understand that we can secure our border without turning away families and children who are fleeing horrific gang and sexual violence.”

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.