BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Border Report) — A congressional delegation with up to 17 members is expected to come to South Texas on Friday and cross an international bridge to view the refugee tent where thousands of asylum seekers live in Matamoros, Mexico.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat who represents Brownsville, told Border Report on Sunday that he is bringing a large delegation to see for themselves the condition of the asylum encampment.

An estimated 2,500 asylum-seekers, including 500 children, live in the filthy tent encampment just over the Gateway International Bridge. They are part of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, which forces them to remain in Mexico while their asylum cases are pending.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, is bringing a large delegation of congressional members this week to view the migrant encampment in Matamoros, Mexico. (Border Report File Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

Vela has often invited his Washington, D.C., colleagues to tour the tent encampment.

Most recently, in November, he brought U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Afterward, Thompson said that the Matamoros encampment is worse than refugee camps he has visited in Somalia, Africa.

“I am more convinced than ever based on what I saw to the extent of what I can highlight with my colleagues,” Thompson told Border Report after his tour.

Read a Border Report story about Rep. Thompson’s visit to Matamoros.

On Sunday, organizers who were protesting the conditions the migrants are living in, as well as the judicial tent city where their cases are heard, announced that the 17 members would be coming to South Texas. Several protesters said they plan to hold a daily vigil in Brownsville until every migrant is allowed to claim asylum in the United States.

Read a Border Report story about the picketing event and daily vigils being held in Brownsville.

Members of the delegation

  • Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
    Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34)
  • Congressman Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Assistant Speaker
  • Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
  • Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
  • Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Second-Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Immigration Task Force Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32)
  • Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
  • Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35)
  • Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29)
  • Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04)
  • Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9)
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
  • Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
  • Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-02)
  • Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
  • Congressman Ed Case (HI-01)

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