AP NEWS
Related topics

Joyce: The border ‘crisis is real’

April 19, 2019 GMT

U.S. Rep. John Joyce said that his trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona was a fact-finding mission that turned into an eye-opening experience.

Joyce, a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee, went on the trip led by Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona, from Tuesday to Thursday.

“My takeaway is after having seen firsthand what is going on, after sitting down and talking to border agents, the message is we need to build the wall,” he said on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning. “The wall frees up our agents to do their job.”

Joyce said the trip allowed him to see firsthand the crisis at the border and what is needed from Congress to allow border patrol agents to do their job better. He said he also wanted to see the damage Democrats have caused by claiming for months that there is no crisis at the border.

“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi said it was manufactured and I had to laugh,” he said. “After what I have seen, this crisis is real.”

During his trip he visited an Arizona-based company that could build a mile of wall a day to secure the border. He also visited an area where it is believed people enter the country illegally through shallow portions of the Colorado River.

He also had dinner with border patrol agents. He said they related that they are often stretched thin.

He also did a ride-along.

He said the agents often work double shifts, occasionally using outdated technology.

He said he witnessed a group of 32 adults illegally crossing the border, each of them with a child. The Drug Enforcement Administration also confiscated a large amount of heroin and fentanyl that was being brought into the country.

“They made an interesting point that they have seen more of the manufactured drugs, more methamphetamine and more fentanyl because it cuts out the growers and it makes the cartels financially more productive,” he said.

He said that smugglers will sometimes use the distraction caused by a large group of migrants with children to cross the border into the United States.

“I was surprised (by) the number of undocumented aliens who sit down and give themselves up. They wanted to be brought into the system (and) then it became clear to me why,” he said. “The case was they were housed, they were fed and many of them were being released, many within two days.”

When he returns to Washington, Joyce said he will be co-sponsoring a bill introduced by New York Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to close immigration loopholes. He said that often people use children to cross the border. The bill will ensure that children are released to a legal guardian or parent and are not put back into a system to help people cross the border.

“We, as Congress, need to get that fixed,” he said.

Joyce, a doctor by trade, said that he has always been concerned about health issues at the border. He said that there are 12 cases of multiple-drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis. He said that it is a bacterial lung inflection that often takes six to 12 months to treat. These cases require more than a year’s worth of treatment.

“My concern is what about the person who wasn’t coughing and wasn’t recognized as having tuberculosis, and they didn’t come here for treatment for their disease,” he said. “They could be released in a day and a half and be sitting at a restaurant (table) beside you.”