The surge of unaccompanied immigrant children illegally crossing the southern border is drawing House lawmakers to the region for fact-finding visits during the July Fourth recess week.
Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., a former immigration lawyer whose panel just convened a hearing on the issue, will lead a bipartisan group on a trip to the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S.-Mexico border next week.
"Word has spread around the world about the Obama Administration's lax immigration enforcement and administration legalization programs and it has encouraged thousands of children, teenagers, and families from Central America to come to the United States illegally and take advantage of this situation," Goodlatte said in a statement announcing his upcoming visit. "Law enforcement officials who testified at the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week state that this surge shows no signs of stopping." The group plans to tour federal facilities Wednesday and Thursday and participate in briefings with officials from Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as from officials with the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement.
"Members of the House Judiciary Committee traveling to the border will meet with those dealing with this problem firsthand," Goodlatte continued, "so that we can determine how to stop this border crisis."
Other members are planning visits to the area as well. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Thursday afternoon that she would be visiting the South Texas Detention Facility over the weekend with Border Caucus Co-Chairman Filemon Vela, D-Texas; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas; and Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev.
Pelosi also expressed hope Thursday that Democrats could consult with Republicans on the child migrant crisis task force convened earlier in the week by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
Another Democrat who wants bipartisan participation in forming a Congressional response is Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who on Saturday will join the first lady of Honduras and Honduran Ambassador Jorge Milla Reyes in touring the border patrol facility in McAllen and the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio that is currently housing unaccompanied minors who were attempting to cross the border into the United States.
Texas Republican Kay Granger, appointed by Boehner to head up a House GOP working group, which also includes Goodlatte, will be participating alongside Cuellar.
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