EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- State and local leaders from both sides of the political isle spoke Friday on immigration concerns ahead of the 2024 presidential election. This comes as Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar led several of her colleagues on a tour of the border the same morning.
One thing that both Democrats and Republicans seem to be able to agree on after years of back and forth on the immigration issue, is that reform is needed. However, the proposed solutions by each side differ greatly. Let's take a look at some of the most prominent concerns having to deal with immigration.
Migrants and the depleted U.S. workforce
During a press conference held Friday by Congresswoman Escobar, the representative compared what she calls a broken asylum system, to the lack of workers to fill new jobs being created in the U.S.
"The fact that we have not opened legal pathways for people has essentially pushed migrants into an asylum system that does not have the capacity to handle as many people as are seeking asylum," she said. "At the same time, our country has 8 million unfilled jobs."
ABC-7 spoke with Adolpho Telles, the current Chair for the El Paso County Republican Party. He said he acknowledges that there is a job crisis in the U.S. right now, and agrees that the U.S. needs immigration to help it. However, he said it needs to be done right.
"We have jobs they need to fill. But we need to be vetting every single person before they get in here," he said.
Challenging the Constitution?
One of the more recent developments in the national conversation on immigration is the legal battle between the federal government and Texas's state government. The state's Governor Greg Abbott has been challenging the Constitutional authority of the federal government, resulting in an ongoing lawsuit.
In part, Governor Abbott has placed controversial and extremely sharp razor wire along the U.S.-Mexico border, deployed Texas National Guard and Texas DPS to the border, signed into law Senate Bill 4, and more.
Several Republican governors -- notably, Ron DeSantis of Florida -- have voiced their support for Abbott. Further, some have announced they are deploying national guard to the Texas-Mexico border.
"They are on the verge of causing a Constitutional crisis in our country. We have heard secessionists, people who want, essentially a fight between the federal and state government. We've seen them talking about civil war. That is absolutely alarming," said Escobar.
But Telles said it's not unconstitutional, despite some Democrats calling it that.
"The U.S. Constitution is very clear. It's the federal government's responsibility to protect the borders of this country. And it's also clear that if they don't do that, then we have the right to protect ourselves," he said.