Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona introduced legislation on Thursday afternoon seeking to bolster the federal government’s response to the surge of illegal migrants at the southern border.
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act includes provisions aimed at increasing capacity in migrant shelters and resolving asylum claims in a timely manner, Axios reported.
It also seeks to deter the migration of those unlikely to be granted asylum and to protect unaccompanied migrant children.
“We know that this crisis at the border is not a Democratic or Republican problem,” Sinema said Thursday afternoon. “It’s not a new problem. It’s an American problem, and it’s one that we’ve been dealing with in our border states for decades.”
“I’ve seen firsthand how Arizona, and specifically small communities along the border, pay the price for the federal government’s failure to fix our broken immigration system,” Sinema said in a statement.
“I am proud to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation ensuring the federal government takes meaningful steps to support our border communities, secure the border, and treat all migrants and unaccompanied children fairly and humanely.”
“I have seen firsthand that law enforcement at our southern border has been overwhelmed by this historic surge of migrants, and border communities are straining to provide whatever assistance they can,” Cornyn added.
“With the Border Patrol estimating that this situation will only get worse, we must address this in a meaningful way that is fair to migrants seeking asylum, takes the pressure off of our border communities, and allows our Border Patrol agents to focus on their primary mission of securing the border.”
The bill’s introduction follows a joint letter from the two border state senators calling on President Joe Biden to use his “full authorities” to address the crisis, as well as a letter from Sinema and fellow Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly urging Biden to deploy more Homeland Security personnel to the border.
A separate bipartisan bill introduced in the House on Tuesday that would have demanded a comprehensive strategy from the Biden administration to combat the crisis and allocated $1 billion in aid failed to even reach the floor for debate.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March that illegal crossings were on pace to hit a 20-year high.