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Portman among senators visiting U.S.’s southern border

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Gary Peters, D-Michigan, ranking member and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, ranking member and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, recently completed a bipartisan congressional delegation visit to assess resource needs and ongoing humanitarian and security challenges at the Southern Border. The senators joined Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to tour several border facilities in El Paso to help inform efforts in Congress to address these ongoing concerns.

“I am deeply troubled by the urgent crisis on our southern border due to the influx of unaccompanied children and Border Patrol’s immediate need for increased support and resources,” Portman said in a news release. “We are still early in the year and not yet in the peak season for migrant travel, thus we are likely to see increases in unaccompanied children which will continue to divert Border Patrol agents from their national security duties patrolling our border.”

During the visit, the senators toured the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where they viewed screening procedures and drug detection efforts. The lawmakers then visited a CBP Central Processing Center, where CBP processes asylum seekers – including unaccompanied minors and family units – that have crossed the border. The senators’ visit also included a tour of CHS Trail House, a state-licensed facility contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, which provides care to unaccompanied minors while they wait to be placed with a sponsor.