Border lawmaker optimistic about ‘urgency’ in Congress to secure border after Hamas attacks on Israel

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, says he believes there is a sense of urgency in Congress to pass bipartisan solutions to the current crisis at the southern border, even if they are limited, in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. last month.

More than a month has passed since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and it renewed existing concerns that terrorists might try to use the current chaos on the southern border to infiltrate the country and commit atrocities against Americans. Republicans have repeatedly been sounding the alarm about what they see as a porous border and the number of encounters and “leaks” from terrorist watch lists.

DHS has highlighted the threat both in a FY24 threat assessment (released before the attack) and more recently in a Customs and Border Protection memo that warned that fighters from Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups could attempt to enter the US, although the agency says they have There were no indications that the fighters were attempting to enter the US.


“Hamas is the ugliest of the ugliest when you think about terrorist organizations and that threat is not only external. It is absolutely internal,” Gonzales said. “We have seen the number of people who are on the terrorist watch list, who are detained, and grow. And the threat is very real.”

A Border Patrol agent walks between a gap along the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Yuma, Arizona, on June 1, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Gonzales has been part of a series of bipartisan discussions over border security, while also angering some members of his own party by refusing to support some tougher Republican initiatives targeting asylum claims at the border, contributing to was censured by his state party. at the beginning of this year.

But Gonzales has continued and this year introduced the SAFER Act, which would raise the credible fear standard for initial asylum evaluations, hire additional immigration judges and pressure the State Department to negotiate deportation agreements with countries in Central and Latin America. .

The credible fear provision was also present in the Republican Senate border proposals released this week, but which were quickly rejected by the White House and Senate Democrats. There are also provisions related to a Border Patrol pay increase, which Gonzales has also asked for. Gonzales was glad to see the inclusions, but added that he wanted other counterterrorism measures, such as declaring cartels as terrorist organizations, to be in the proposals.

Representative Tony González

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 12: Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, walks down the steps of the House of Representatives after voting on Thursday, January 12, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Gonzales believes there is still hope for a compromise, but says some of the more “toxic” proposals from both sides should be abandoned.

“If we can remove some of these controversial parts of the border security part and the controversial parts of the immigration part, if you remove that, there is an opportunity to pass some things, some significant things that could immediately keep Americans safer than what they are now,” he said.

He said he believes that, in the wake of the attack on Israel, there is a greater sense of immediacy in DC.

“There seems to be a sense of urgency that’s happening on all sides, whether it’s the administration, Republican senators, Democratic senators, Democratic members of the House of Representatives or Republican members of the House of Representatives,” he said.

There is a sense of urgency. That tells me there’s an opportunity if we can package something that’s meaningful enough, where it’s not just messaging, and can ultimately be signed in its entirety. It’s a difficult process, but it’s something I’m certainly committed to doing. ” he said.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday echoed the administration’s call for a “comprehensive” rather than piecemeal solution. But Gonzales says it will be the latter that will be more realistic.


“It has to be limited in scope and done piecemeal. Anyone who is pushing for a comprehensive package is saying they don’t want anything,” he said. “You know, when the president mentions [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], that’s impossible. And, you know, some of this stuff is just toxic, so to speak, to the conversation.”

He cited raising the credible fear standard and increasing deportations (he pointed to the government’s recent decision to directly deport illegal immigrants to Venezuela) as areas of possible agreement. She also said it’s more personal for him, since it’s his constituents who are on the front lines of the border crisis.


“We’re tired of the messaging bills. We’re tired of the blame game. We need real solutions. And I think there’s an opportunity, just with the state of events that are happening, to get some things done.” significant in the future. finish line,” she said.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button