On Fox Business, Portman Discusses the Crisis at the Southern Border & Highlights His Upcoming Visit
In an interview with Fox Business’s Varney & Company this morning, Senator Portman voiced his concern about the humanitarian crisis at the southern border and discussed solutions on how best to handle the influx of immigrants attempting to come into the United States. He plans to visit the border later this week to see the humanitarian crisis firsthand and talk to our border control agents on the ground to help come up with bipartisan solutions.
Excerpts of his interview can be found below and a video can be found here:
PORTMAN ON VISITING THE SOUTHERN BORDER THIS WEEK:
“We’re going to the centralized processing center, which is the big processing center in the McAllen area. This is frankly where most of the refugee crisis is occurring in southern Texas. We have an opportunity to see firsthand what is going on and see what the conditions are. But also to sit down with the officials who are on the ground, Department of Homeland Security officials, Customs and Border Protection folks, Border Patrol, HHS, which are handling the unaccompanied kids, and really hear firsthand what is going on and how we can come up with better solutions.”
PORTMAN ON CHANGING THE ASYLUM PROCESS FOR REFUGEES:
“Obviously it is a crisis, it’s not a manufactured crisis which some Democrats were saying. I think they acknowledged that finally about 10 days ago, Stuart, when they finally agreed to support the humanitarian assistance. Some of the same people who were complaining about the conditions would not send the funding down there to deal with what is clearly a humanitarian crisis as well as drug crisis, as well as an immigration crisis. In terms of solutions, one thing that I’ve been promoting, as I think you know, is a refugee alternative. In other words to tell these people who live in Central America that the traffickers are wrong. You shouldn’t come to our border. You should go to a processing center run by the United Nations. By the way, there are already several in Central America, and one in Mexico and present yourself there to determine whether you qualify for asylum. The criteria for refugees and asylum is the same. It is the credible fear standard. The UN does this all over the world. This would be an opportunity for people to make their case. For those who qualify, to be able to come, not just to America, but actually to be resettled through the refugee resettlement efforts. As you know ultimately only 15 percent of these asylum claims are being granted. For the vast majority of people, they would not be permitted to come under this. By the way some would go to other countries, not just the United States, as happens with the refugee processing center. I think this is a very good alternative that would keep people from making that long and dangerous journey north.
“I talked to a number of Democrats about it. Some have been willing to talk about it. That is great. Others have said, ‘Well, that doesn’t allow people to have the due process.’ It actually does and it is an international due process. It’s also something that you may remember President Obama did at one point with regard to the unaccompanied children. He allowed them to apply in their home country to be able to deal with what at that time was a surge of young people coming to the border. It goes back to an Obama administration proposal. I will say, with regard to the administration, with whom I’ve talked a lot about this, they would have to raise the refugee caps. Right now the cap is limited to 2,000 from Central America. You have to assume based on the numbers we know, 15 percent, that there would be more than 2,000 coming. But I think that is something that is far better than the current situation, as you know. You said it so well, people come to the border. They eventually just walk into our country.
“Thanks for following this so closely. We have to stop being partisan about this. This is a crisis. It is an American crisis. We need to deal with it.”