Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee on Texas border crisis: 'It's a human tragedy'

Tom Abrahams Image
Sunday, January 21, 2024
ABC13 takes a trip to McAllen with a bipartisan delegation of Texas lawmakers to discuss ongoing border crisis
"I think this hurts the entire country, the fabric of this nation. It's a human tragedy," a chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told ABC13 about his perspective on the border crisis.

MCALLEN, Texas (KTRK) -- The border crisis remains front and center in Washington, D.C., as the House and Senate debate whether or not to tie border funding to aid for Ukraine and Israel. ABC13 traveled to McAllen with a bipartisan delegation of Texas lawmakers so we could get a firsthand look at the ongoing crisis.

Our tour brought Eyewitness News to the wall, where a group of 22 migrants turned themselves in as ABC13 watched. They were a mix of men, women, and young children. The youngest was 16 months old and in his pajamas. Once they finished at the wall, the migrants boarded a bus to go to one of the region's processing centers. If they declared asylum, they would likely be released and allowed to stay in the United States pending a court's decision, possibly years from now.

It's a process that plays out again and again. Throughout the night, every night, and into the morning.

Evidence of illegal crossings litter border towns all along the 1,254 miles where Texas meets Mexico.

In November, in Texas alone, there were more than 111,000 encounters between migrants and Customs and Border Protection. They come from Central and South America, China, Russia, and the Middle East.

Chris Cabrera is a long-time Border Patrol agent who is with the national union. He gave ABC13 the tour and his perspective on what's wrong.

"If your sink is overflowing, are you going to turn off the water, or are you going to mop?" Cabrera asked.

And that is why a bipartisan congressional delegation is here, led by the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a Texas congressman who represents parts of Houston, College Station, and Austin, Michael McCaul.

"I think it's important when we talk about national security that we do so with one voice, one nation when we can," McCaul told ABC13. "I think this hurts the entire country, the fabric of this nation. It's a human tragedy."

He's joined by Monica De La Cruz, a first-term congresswoman who represents this district but looks at the bigger picture.

"At the end of the day, this is an American issue," she said. "And it affects all Americans from Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, to New York City."

The lone Democrat is Henry Cuellar. He said the rest of the country is beginning to see what border towns have known for years.

"People say, 'It's okay. Let the migrants in.' But once it's in your own backyard, it changes things," Cuellar said. "That's why New York, Chicago, D.C., and other places are saying, 'Wait, wait, we can't handle that because when they're seeing this 1500 miles away, it's very different.'"

Randy Weber, a Republican who is hoping Congress finally acts.

"I think the American people are waking up," he said.

Weber and the rest of the delegation travel from the border to Mexico City, seeking help in stopping the flow of migrants before they ever get to the border.

For updates on this story, follow Tom Abrahams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.