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Press Coverage of Sen. Cruz’s Visit to U.S.-Mexico Border

Tours immigrant detention facilities, calls for bipartisan solution in roundtable and press conference at Weslaco Border Patrol Station

June 25, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) toured immigrant detention facilities for children in South Texas with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Friday. They held a roundtable at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station with representatives from federal agencies involved in the process of receiving, detaining, and adjudicating immigrant families, as well as non-profits and local elected officials. 

Last week, Sen. Cruz introduced legislation to end the separation of illegal immigrant parents and children at the border. The Protect Kids and Parents Act:

  • mandates that illegal immigrant families must be kept together;
  • provides for expedited processing and review of the cases of individuals who are here with children, so that within 14 days those who meet the legal standards to stay will be allowed to stay, and those who do not will be returned to their home counties with their families;
  • doubles the number of federal immigration judges, an increase from roughly 375 to 750. These new judges will prioritize processing claims of individuals who are here with children; and
  • authorizes new family shelters so that children can remain with their parents while their parents’ claims are being processed.

Read the text of the bill here. A one page summary of the bill may be viewed here.

Several media outlets covered Sen. Cruz's visit. Selected news coverage is below:

KTRK: Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn visit immigration facility along U.S.-Mexico border
“Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn toured some of the immigration facilities and saw the children firsthand Friday. They also participated in a forum at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco. […] Cruz and Cornyn said they want to keep children together with their parents. ‘A strong consensus in Washington that kids need to stay with their parents,’ Cruz added.”

Corpus Christi Caller-Times: John Cornyn, Ted Cruz say visit to immigrant children's detention center was emotional
“The two U.S. senators from Texas said their visits Friday to two facilities where immigrant children in federal custody are kept cemented their view that the policy of separating families was misguided. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans, are sponsoring legislation that will formally end the separations that were part of the Trump administration's zero tolerance approach to illegal immigration. ‘I would say there’s a strong consensus that kids need to stay with their parents,’ Cruz told reporters after a 90-minute round table discussion with federal immigration officers, local elected leaders and others involved in caring for immigrant families. […] Cruz said he has plans ‘in the coming days and weeks’ to meet with Feinstein and other Senate Democrats to see if the two parties can reach agreement that protects families from being separated but does not open U.S. border to anyone who wants in. ‘There’s a right way and a wrong way to come to America,’ Cruz said. ‘The right way is to follow the rules.’”

Texas Tribune: Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn tour shelters housing immigrant children separated from families
“After touring shelters that house some of the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, Republican U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas reaffirmed their commitment to keeping kids with their parents after they cross the border — so long as future immigration policy better deters people from entering the country illegally. ‘Kids are better off with their moms and dads,’ Cruz said Friday during a roundtable discussion at a South Texas Border Patrol station, an event that also featured Cornyn. ‘I hope we see Democrats and Republicans willing to work together to ensure that ... but also to ensure ... that we’re respecting the rule of law.’ […] Cruz said the legislation he introduced in Congress last week is the best way forward. That legislation, which he acknowledged may not have enough support to advance, would require the federal government to keep immigrant families together once they cross the border ‘absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.’”

KRIS: Texas Senators file legislation to end separation of immigrant families at border
“The eyes of the country and the world are on South Texas after thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Those children are now being held in detention centers, and today Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz toured two of those facilities in the Rio Grande Valley. […] The Senators noted that polices carried out on the border will only be changed by consensus in Washington. ‘To see if the Democrats are willing to work with Republicans,’ Senator Cruz said. ‘The wrong solution would be a return to catch and release.’” 

CBS DFW: Texas Senators: Balance Zero-Tolerance And Compassion
“Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz say federal immigration authorities can balance a zero-tolerance policy and compassion. Both senators went to the Texas-Mexico border Friday to hold a roundtable discussion with immigration officials, religious and community leaders. […] Senator Cruz said the president’s executive order was a first step. ‘I think the President listened to the concerns by me, Senator Cornyn, by Texans, and people across the country. The kids should stay with their families, and my hope is that in the coming days and weeks, we will see Republicans and Democrats coming together.’ Cruz said he will meet with Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Dick Durbin of Illinois to see if they will work with Republicans on an immigration bill. Both Senators Cruz and Cornyn filed legislation this week that would require immigration authorities to keep families together at residential centers while their court cases are pending. It also calls for hiring 200 new immigration judges and expediting court proceedings for children and families. After their roundtable discussion, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz said the government can’t go back to the current policy of allowing people to cross the border to be released into the U.S. and be trusted to show up in court. Senator Cruz said, ‘The wrong solution would be a return to catch and release. The wrong solution would be an outcome that mandates that everyone coming illegally has to be released. That would only encourage further illegal immigration which is not a good outcome.’”

Voz de America: Legisladores visitan centros de detención de menores en Texas y Florida
“Los senadores republicanos, Ted Cruz y John Cornyn visitaron el viernes dos centros de detención en Weslaco, Texas y señalaron que si bien los niños están recibiendo cuidado, servicios de salud y cariño ‘deben estar con sus padres.’ ‘Diría que existe un fuerte consenso en Washington de que los niños necesitan quedarse con sus padres,’ dijo el senador de Texas, Ted Cruz. ‘Es absolutamente cierto que los niños necesitan estar con sus madres y padres. Eso es lo que hay que hacer. Esta semana presenté un proyecto de ley para que los niños permanezcan con sus padres ausentes de amenazas, daños, violencia u otros factores y creo que podemos lograrlo de una manera que sea consistente con el respeto a la ley,’ señaló el senador Cruz. Tanto Cruz como Cornyn participaron de una mesa redonda con autoridades de aduanas, de la patrulla fronteriza, ICE, alcaldes locales y jueces para discutir y buscar las mejores soluciones a la inmigración ilegal. El senador Cruz y Cornyn sostuvieron que al parecer el presidente Donald Trump escuchó las preocupaciones expresadas por los legisladores y por los texanos, así como por personas de todo el país de que ‘los niños deberían quedarse con sus padres,’ en referencia a la orden ejecutiva firmada por el presidente Donald Trump el miércoles, pero que ha desencadenado una serie de preocupaciones.”

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