Fitzpatrick urges immigration reform after Texas visit

He said the trip raised more questions than it answered.

Jim Melwert
June 27, 2018 - 5:10 pm
From left: Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) partricipate in a press conference after taking a tour of the recently built tent encampment near the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry on June 23 in Tornillo, Texas.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As a GOP compromise bill failed in the House Wednesday, a congressman from Bucks County is among a group of bipartisan lawmakers urging immigration reform after visiting a detention facility in El Paso, Texas. 

It’s signed by three Democrats and two Republicans who toured the Tornillo facility near El Paso, including Bucks County Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

The bipartisan statement read in part: "We firmly oppose the most recent policy of separating our children from their families — this policy runs counter to our American ideals. Instead of a bad policy, poorly executed, we need a bipartisan immigration overhaul that secures our borders, respects the rule of law, and protects the dignity of children brought here through no fault of their own."

Fitzpatrick said the trip raised more questions than it answered.

"We wanted to know who these children were, what the plan was to reunite them with their parents, who was responsible for it and what their plan of action was," he said. "First and foremost, we wanted to deal with the time-sensitive issue because every day these children aren't reunited with their parents is another day they're suffering emotional and psychological trauma."

U.S. Health and Human Services is responsible for housing and tracking children, he noted, as well as reuniting them with their families. The department assured the legislators that they have the proper records for the children, but Fitzpatrick said saying it and doing it are two different things, and they plan to follow up.

"I don’t care where these kids come from and who they are," he added. "There’s no other aspect of our society where we hold children accountable for the actions of their parents."

Although the trip was murky, Fitzpatrick said one thing is clear: "This is all the product of a broken legislative immigration scheme, and Congress has to act."