BNHR Statement on Republican Delegation Visit to the U.S.-Mexico Border
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2021
PRESS CONTACT: Alia El-Assar | (202) 938-6511 | firstname.lastname@example.org
EL PASO – The following is a statement from Fernando García, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), on yesterday’s visit to the border by a delegation of Republican lawmakers, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):
“Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s delegation to the border represents an abhorrent dog and pony show by the Republicans to further their own political game and distort the reality of the region and situation, with the criminalization and dehumanization of immigrant children and families as the centerpiece.
While the delegation feigned concern for the families seeking refuge at our southern border, they did not reach out to key stakeholders in the border communities during their visit to hear our perspectives and proposed solutions. Additionally, their vehement criticism of the Biden administration stands in stark contrast to their convenient yet unsurprising silence on the Trump administration’s barrage of cruel policies that resulted in the destruction of existing asylum infrastructure.
At the end of the day, Rep. McCarthy and the other Republican delegates do not actually care about these children and families. They are merely pawns in a political game that has time and again led to violence and heartbreak for border communities.
The real crisis we are witnessing is a moral and political one precipitated by our lawmakers’ failure to pass inclusive and just immigration reform over the past decade. Seeking asylum is a legal right, and U.S. law states that asylum seekers may remain in the U.S. while their case is pending. It is unconscionable to deny children and families this right, as well as their dignity and access to basic resources and institutional support.
The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) believes that the Biden administration has the right intentions, however, we need to see those intentions become actions. If we are to truly live up to our values as a welcoming nation, we must invest resources in the construction of Welcoming Centers with comprehensive services including housing, legal assistance, and COVID-19 tests and vaccines for asylum seekers, as well as more asylum judges and officers to process cases in a timely manner.
The border is the New Ellis Island, and our policy decisions in the coming years will determine if the U.S. will remain a beacon of hope and freedom as it did for millions of immigrants more than a century ago, or become a place of fear and hatred in the decades to come.”
The Border Network for Human Rights, founded in 1998, is one of the leading human rights advocacy and immigration reform organizations in the U.S. BNHR has over 7,000 members in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. To learn more about BNHR, please visit https://bnhr.org/