Harder Leads Bipartisan Fact-Finding Mission to Infamous Border Detention Facility

August 14, 2019
Press Release
Detention Facilities Remain Serious Humanitarian Crisis, Have Seen Minor Progress Thanks to Public Outcry

Modesto, CA – Yesterday, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) led a bipartisan fact-finding mission to the southern border to get a first-hand look at the conditions in which asylum-seekers and other immigrants are being held. The tour took Rep. Harder, along with Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to a series of Customs and Border Patrol facilities in McAllen Texas, including the largest detention center in the country. During the trip, Rep. Harder also met with immigrant rights activists to get an important alternative perspective to the one presented by Customs and Border Patrol.

“It’s heart-wrenching to see. A lot of kids are still in cages, and it’s still overcrowded and inhumane. It’s a humanitarian crisis of our own making and we can never ever let it happen again. Public pressure has forced Customs and Border Patrol to take some baby steps in the right direction – based on what I saw, kids have toothbrushes, they’re not being kept in detention for weeks at a time, and family separations are down,” said Rep. Harder. “But small progress is nowhere near enough – even one child separated from her mother and kept in a cage is one too many. This isn’t who we are as a country. This is a systematic failure that Washington is responsible for and it’s made worse by the fact that CBP is just not equipped to take care of kids. It’s time for a real bipartisan solution that fixes our broken immigration system and guarantees humane conditions for families at the border. We have to keep public and congressional pressure up to right this wrong.”

The delegation visited a port of entry to better understand the increased flow of asylum-seekers and their effect on the facility’s operations. The members of Congress also visited the largest processing center in the country and a makeshift holding center which was built in response to the influx of immigrants seeking asylum over the early part of this year. The delegation also met with a local immigrant rights attorney who represents immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.

Last month, Rep. Harder voted for $4.5 billion in emergency funding – which was signed into law on July 1 –  to improve conditions at border detention facilities.