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Senators react to border conditions after El Paso visit with Homeland secretary

EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators visited the Mexican border in El Paso on Friday amid growing controversy over how the Biden administration is dealing with a surge in migrants, especially unaccompanied children.

Mayorkas made his second trip as secretary to El Paso "to view operations and receive a briefing on the processing, shelter, and transfer of unaccompanied children arriving at our border," DHS said.

The trip was closed to the news media and the public due to Covid-19 restrictions and privacy concerns, the agency said.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a twitter post that he arrived in El Paso Thursday night and was shocked by what he personally observed.

"It was stunning to see how many people, including unaccompanied children, unlawfully crossed the border just last night," Portman said in a post on Friday accompanied by photos.

"The (Border Patrol) agents told me about how unaccompanied children and families are used to divert agents while traffickers move illicit substances like meth and other deadly drugs across the border," Portman wrote in another tweet. "The Biden admin must change its failed approach or these deadly narcotics will continue to make their way in."

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who chairs the Senate's homeland security appropriations subcommittee, described on twitter a highly emotional moment he experienced while seeing the conditions at a migrant processing facility the group toured in El Paso on Friday.

"Hundreds of kids packed into big open rooms. In a corner, I fought back tears as a 13-year-old girl sobbed uncontrollably explaining thru a translator how terrified she was, having been separated from her grandmother and without her parents," Murphy said.

He continued, "the desperation these kids and families are fleeing is hard to describe. The memory of that 13 year-old girl will be with me forever. So long as conditions are abysmal in places south, people will find a way to get here, no matter how high the wall is or how many border agents."

While Portman said the current border situation represented a failure by the Biden administration, Murphy found fault with the prior administration - saying Biden inherited a broken immigration system.

"The Biden Administration is trying their best to uphold the rule of law with humanity," Murphy concluded. "They have a ton of work ahead to clean up the mess Trump left them, but their intentions are true."

(ABC News contributed to this report.)

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

19 Comments

  1. Democrats still blaming Trump for Biden’s failures I see! 68? executive orders in less than 60 days. Can’t even walk up the stairs anymore. Very sad. The new administration is falling on its sword at every turn. God help America!

  2. Of course the senators freaked. They haven’t been a round that many Mexicans. Lol. Now truthofthematter was housed in the downtown with Mexicans and got plenty of that brown love.

    1. No. They freaked because Biden is an inept, corrupt, incompetent moron that has allowed this crisis to occur due to his America last agena.

  3. What would be hilarious if it weren’t true is really no president has done anything about immigration since Reagan. They all tried, and some tried by reaching across the aisle. Neither Obama or Trump did a damn thing but make it worse. Oh, you’ll hear lies by Obama and Trump supporters about what they did, but it’s all fantasy. Trump built 9 miles total of new wall with DoD money, while Obama opened the floodgates. DACA wasn’t horrible but it’s just a stop gap. It’s horrible that these lives are now just political talking points.

  4. Let’s get some facts here… PRESIDENT.. WHITE! SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE… WHITE! SENATE MAJORITY… WHITE!!! fero2’s IN LOVE WITH THEM, but hates all others… You’re a MIXED UP POChit!!!

  5. The three cartels operating in the Juarez area control anything and everybody that crosses their territory. Biden is helping them. Considering Biden’s penchant for taking bribes, you have to wonder if Beijing Joe and his doper son, Hunter are on the take?

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