Escobar bringing eight House members to tour migrant facilities in El Paso


El Paso congresswoman wants to give lawmakers "holistic" view of migrant situation that Republicans say is a full-blown crisis

A delegation of House Democrats led by Rep. Veronica Escobar, center in black, enter the El Paso Processing Center for a tour by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. The facility drew attention this year after a group of hunger-striking immigrants were force-fed in January, and another group was forcibly hydrated in July. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, is hosting a congressional delegation of seven Democrats and one Republican in El Paso this weekend, so they can see the migrant situation first-hand.

The group is scheduled to visit the El Paso Border Patrol Central Processing Center, a federally contracted facility for unaccompanied migrant children, a private nonprofit migrant shelter and the Paso del Norte port of entry.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas.

“I absolutely think it’s important for members of Congress to see facilities where migrants are held and to hear from our Border Patrol agents and our Sector chief,” Escobar said Friday in a press call. “We are seeing a lot of kids and unaccompanied children arriving. We are going to see one of the shelters so (they) can see where the children go once there’s room for them in the shelter and once they’re released from CBP processing facilities.”

The El Paso Democrat said this is not the first time she’s invited members of Congress to investigate the migrant situation on the border. In 2019, during the last major migrant surge, she said her team brought 20% of the entire House of Representatives to the region.

A list of attendees released by her office shows the only Republican coming this time is U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Indiana.

The delegation is set to arrive in El Paso a day after Republicans toured the border at South Texas, some 800 miles southeast of here. The Republicans are concerned about a surge in unauthorized migrant crossings, the overcrowding at processing centers and the escalating involvement of Mexican drug cartels in immigrant smuggling. Border Patrol processing centers in South Texas are overwhelmed to the point they’re flying up to 270 migrants per day to El Paso for processing.

Escobar said her tour would give her fellow members of Congress a “holistic” view of the current migrant situation, which Republicans describe as a crisis and the Biden administration calls a “challenge.”

“In addition to getting the perspective from federal law-enforcement and personnel at the ports of entry, they will hear the humanitarian side of it,” Escobar said. “This is a very holistic perspective unlike what my Republican colleagues usually do, which is parachute in, put on camouflage, act like they’re in a war zone and they don’t normally talk to the humanitarian folks.”

“This is a very holistic perspective unlike what my Republican colleagues usually do, which is parachute in, put on camouflage, act like they’re in a war zone and they don’t normally talk to the humanitarian folks.”

U.S. REp. VeroniCA ESCoBAR, D-Texas

She said her guests would hear from advocates and lawyers and from the executive director of what she called “our most beautiful NGOs in this country” – that being Annunciation House.

Migrants from different Latin American countries walk inside the Casa del Refugiado, or The House of Refugee, a center opened by the Annunciation House to help the large flow of migrants being released by the United States Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas on April 24, 2019. (PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

Escobar said the stop at the Paso del Norte International Bridge is to highlight opportunities for increased commerce that exist on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Paso del Norte is a pedestrian and private vehicle crossing venue. Merchants on the U.S. side have told Border Report their sales have dropped by up to 90% since federal non-essential travel restrictions were enacted last March and most Mexican shoppers were prevented from coming across.

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