Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell and Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez represent districts facing surge in crossings from Mexico.
Two lawmakers recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border in their respective districts, calling for immediate government help. But they differed on what they wanted.
“Our border is too porous right now. Let’s shut our border down, let’s do it right,” said Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell, standing in front of a pile of steel posts left unused after President Biden on his first day in office halted the construction of former GOP President Donald Trump’s signature border wall.
The New Mexico lawmaker said Trump-era immigration restrictions need to be put back in place before she would be willing to talk about expediting the backlog of asylum cases and smoothing the path to legal status for some immigrants that many Democrats want. Earlier this month, she brought eight Republican colleagues to her district and nearby El Paso, Texas, to show them what she says is Mr. Biden’s border crisis.
Hundreds of miles east, Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas told a group of pro-Trump ranchers that Dreamers, or immigrants brought illegally to the country as children, deserve permanent legal status, and “people who’ve been here for decades working hard and have no record at all” should be welcomed out of the shadows.
But he also criticized Mr. Biden’s decision to allow more migrants to enter the U.S. and apply for asylum claims. Families are being released at a rapid clip into border communities, which need to test them for Covid-19 and quarantine them if necessary.
“I’ve been actually advocating against my president,” Mr. Gonzalez said while visiting firefighters in his district.