DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Senator John Cornyn, Democratic Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar, and Republican Texas Congressman Tony Gonzales announced Thursday, April 22, they’ve introduced identical bills in the House and Senate.
Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is also working with them on the legislation called the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.READ MORE: Sister Of North Texas Woman Killed By Death Row Inmate Quintin Jones Wants His Life Spared
Representative Cuellar of the 28th Congressional District said, “We’ve got to have a sense of urgency. We’ve got to try something.”
If passed, the bills would create at least four regional processing centers in high traffic Border Patrol sectors designed to handle what’s expected to be the highest number of migrants crossing into the U.S. in 20 years.
The lawmakers said their proposal would send 150 immigration judges and 300 asylum officers to expedite asylum claims in a system that has a two and a half year backlog of cases.
They hope officials would be able to more quickly determine whether people have legitimate asylum claims and can stay or must return to their home countries.
Senator Cornyn said, “By processing them and sending to a place where they have more room and the benefit of having U.S. government officials and non-government organizations to help them walk through the process, we think that’s a better system for them.”
Representative Gonzales of the 23rd Congressional District said, “Adding four regional processing centers is critical. Adding judges to the border is critical.”READ MORE: Hit-And-Run Driver Kills Pedestrian On North Buckner Lane
He also said the processing centers would allow border patrol agents to return to the frontlines instead of having to spend their time and resources caring for the unaccompanied minors before they’re transferred to HHS custody.
“Right now, the Border Patrol are going off the front lines to take care of the kids and of course, we all want to make sure these children while in our country are well taken care of. But what that means, is it creates a real hole in our border security system.”
Congressman Cuellar said because the surge has created an emergency situation, it’s costing the government more money than it normally would to house the unaccompanied minors. “To keep one child for just two days, we spend more money than what the Americans got in their stimulus check, to give you a perspective.”
The lawmakers said the fact that there’s bipartisan support in both the House and Senate is a good start to getting the bills across the finish line and passed.
Congressman Gonzales said, “There’s a lot of members who’ve come out and visited the border. That’s fantastic. But now we have to do something about it. We have to move forward, that’s what this bill does.”MORE NEWS: Once Fugitive Serial Killer Jose Sifuentes Pleads Guilty To Strangling, Killing 3 Women In Dallas
Senator Cornyn had a message for lawmakers who criticize the legislation. “It’s not enough to criticize what other people have proposed to try to solve a problem. If you’ve got a better idea, come forward with one.”