Lawmakers propose bipartisan bill to tackle border crisis

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks at a press conference on school reopening during Covid-19 at US Capitol on March 04, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives canceled plans to vote today as a precaution after talk surfaced online of possible protest or violent unrest in Washington. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 11:15 AM PT – Friday, April 23, 2021

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are attempting to address the border crisis. On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in support of a piece of legislation called the “Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.”

The bicameral bill, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), aims at tackling the surge of migrants reaching the country’s southern border. The legislation, also sponsored by Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) and Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales (R), demands immediate action and requests enough resources and facilities to improve the asylum process and secure our border.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee ranking member Sen. Kyrsten Sinema questions witnesses during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. In the wake of President Donald Trump's orders to create a military Space Force, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine testified about "The Emerging Space Environment: Operational, Technical, and Policy Challenges." (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 14. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The measure would create four new regional processing centers in areas where the number of migrants is high amid surges.

“So by processing them and sending them to a place where they can have more room and have the benefit of all the various U.S. government officials and non-government organizations to help walk them through the process, we think that’s a better system for them,” Sen. Cornyn stated.

The two senators sent Biden a letter in late March, which urged him to use his full authority to respond to the crisis. Gonzalez added, border patrol is overwhelmed and the measure would allow agents to better secure the frontlines.

“Adding four regional processing centers is critical to us solving this issue,” Rep. Gonzalez noted. “You know, putting border patrol agents, taking border patrol agents out of the processing business, and putting them back in the national security business is what this bill gets at the heart of.”

Another provision in the bipartisan bill would improve the care of unaccompanied migrant children.

“We visited many of these facilities and it’s heartbreaking to see the sheer number of children that are having to go through here,” Gonzalez said. “What worries me is once they leave these facilities, what happens to them then?”

Chamber Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said the provisions are not only necessary to confront the ongoing border crisis, but “they also need to be considered by Congress as they debate other immigration issues where reform is desperately needed.”

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