WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, visited the U.S.-Mexico border this week, ahead of possible Congressional action this year on border security.
McCaskill’s trip included:
- Walking tour and Field Operations briefing at the Hidalgo Port of Entry
- Air and marine operations overview followed by aerial and boat tour of border
- Tour of the McAllen, Texas Centralized Processing Center
- Tour of the McAllen, Texas Border Patrol Station
- Briefings from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol, and other officials on border security and counter narcotics operations
- Nighttime border observation with the U.S. Border Patrol
- Meeting with refugees and community leaders including McAllen Mayor Jim Darling
“Touring the border gave me a firsthand look at what’s really needed to further secure our border and keep our nation safe,” said McCaskill. “This is a complex issue and I look forward to working with Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to address the challenges we face. We know that whenever we have people illegally crossing our border, it’s a security threat. So we need to make sure our border patrol has the technology they need to target all undocumented immigration. Given that many of the people crossing our border are women and children fleeing violence in Central America, we’ve also got to go after the drug cartels and gang violence in their home countries so that these families and unaccompanied children are not making the dangerous journey to our southern border.”
McCaskill is a longtime advocate for strengthening border security. Her efforts in 2010 led to the placement of 1,000 new border patrol agents, new unmanned aerial vehicles, improved communication equipment and more to monitor the border without adding to the deficit. In 2012, her bipartisan bill to combat illegal underground border tunnels—cosponsored by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona—passed unanimously in the Senate and was signed into law.
And bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address the country’s broken system in 2013 that McCaskill supported passed the Senate with the support of conservative Republican Senators including Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The bill was strongly supported by groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Missouri Farm Bureau. The bill's border security provisions would have added 20,000 enforcement agents to the U.S.-Mexico border, while financing the construction of 700 miles of border fence and aerial drones to monitor the border. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who helped draft the border security provisions and who supported the overall bill, described the measures as “almost overkill.”
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/immigration to learn more about McCaskill’s views on immigration reform.