Chula Vista Congressman Juan Vargas, house majority leader Steny Hoyer, North County Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), and California Representiave Mike Levin toured the San Ysidro Port of Entry – East Pedestrian location Feb. 22 for the purpose of observing the implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols and observing the facility.
The Migrant Protection Protocols is a process whereby foreign individuals seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the remainder of their immigration proceedings.
In an internal memorandum, dated Jan. 28, 2019, Todd Hoffman, an official with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, stated effective Jan. 28 Homeland Security will implement section 235(b)(2)(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under the section the Department of Homeland Security is authorized to return certain applicants for admission who arrive via land, at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, will not be placed into the MPP.
The four democratic legislators toured the MPP facility, viewed the recent infrastructure upgrades and were briefed on the processing of asylum seekers.
A joint statement was issued after the tour.
“Turning asylum seekers away, or making them wait in a country that is foreign to them, completely contradicts the founding principles of our great nation. We cannot allow this flawed and inhumane policy to define who we are as a country. Now more than ever, Congress stands with asylum seekers and all immigrants.”
Under the new protocols seventy-three people and 13 children have been processed to date.
“They don’t have the social connections to be helped. I think it’s the wrong treatment of our American values,” said Vargas at a joint press briefing after the tour. “I think the policy is wrong.”
“Having a facility here that interviews each and every person, checks each and every bag, every car and every person in every car, is what we need,” he added.
The house majority leader noted his observations on MPP.
“Returning them, not accepting them, is putting them in more dangerous situations,” said Hoyer.
“What I saw today were people, good men and women at customs and border, were actually working with security in mind,” said Levin. “But also with humanity in mind, using cutting edge technology and if we had this sort of security at all 330 of our ports of entry I’m convinced that would go a long way towards whatever problems exist.”
“There is no crisis at the border, there is no justification for an emergency declaration at the border, “said Hoyer. “It is a fake crisis. There is no justification to make an end run around the congress of the United States.”
“Invest in infrastructure,” said Vargas, “Not a fake wall.”