Local lawmakers weigh in on Border Wall battle

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) —  Visiting the Southern border is common for Members of Congress. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) went to see what the conditions were like at the border near El Paso, Texas.

Byrne said during his visit to the border he met with Custom and Border Patrol Officers, and Law Enforcement.

“We need more officers, this is what the President has been talking about we’ve got to put more resources on the border,” Byrne said.

Asylum seekers can face a backlog while waiting for an immigration judge to hear their case. Some people decide to go around the official process. Alabama Senator Doug Jones supports a bipartisan pilot plan, Operation Safe Return, which he says will expedite processing people at the border in a humane way.

“There’s obviously a lot of legitimate asylum seekers by the thousands but they’re overwhelming the border right now,” said Jones. “There’s also some that are not so legitimate, so the process that we’ve set up will give an expedited process to kind of weed out the ones that are not legitimate asylum seekers so that we can remove them get them out of the system.”

Sarah Pierce, Analyst at The Migration Policy Institute, agrees that more resources are needed at the border.

“A lot more personnel and probably even an increase in centers where we can house and process migrants and families and especially children in a safe environment,” said Pierce.

Byrne said when he was at the border he saw two people crossing illegally, which shows the problem.

“The areas where there was no wall or fence was where the two people just walked across, that’s why you need a wall or a fence,” said Byrne.

This month’s Supreme Court ruling allowing defense department funds to be spent on a border wall is a big victory for the trump administration. But, Pierce says a wall won’t deter most asylum seekers.

“The vast majority of individuals arriving at our southern border are asylum seekers so a wall doesn’t actually deter them,” Pierce said. “In fact in most places on the Southern border, a wall is within U.S territory so asylum seekers can approach the Mexico side of the wall and stand there and ask for asylum, and under US law we have to adjudicate their case, so the wall really does nothing to address the current flows.”

Jones said he plans to visit the border sometime soon, to see it for himself.

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