U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales
U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales

U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales is perhaps uniquely qualified to comment on the immigration crisis along the U.S./Mexico border. The first term Republican represents Texas-23, the largest congressional district in the state, with more miles of international border than any other district in the nation.

Gonzales was in Eldorado on Friday where he made stops at Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative, the Eldorado Service Center, Lowe’s Market, and The Eldorado Success newspaper. It was part of a district-wide push to inform his constituents and to solicit support for the “Bipartisan Border Solutions Act,” a bill filed in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate by himself and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), along with U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).

The bipartisan, bicameral bill is aimed at boosting the federal government’s response to the border crisis with a wide array of new tools.
Gonzales said that the current influx of migrants coming across the border is a direct result of policies put in place by President Joe Biden since he took office on January 20th.

The whole thing is placing a strain on local communities, Gonzales said, stretching the capabilities of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to the breaking point. State and local social service agencies and health care providers are also being stressed, explained.

“I believe in immigration, but it has to be legal immigration,” Gonzales said.

The congressman went on to argue that Congress has to enact measures to relieve the bottlenecks in the immigration system and allow DHS (Department of Homeland Security) agents to focus on national security responsibilities.

Among the measures offered in Gonzales’ bill are:

• Creation of least four regional immigrant processing centers;

• Appointment of 150 new immigration judges and 300 asylum officers;

• Added prohibitions against placing unaccompanied migrant children with convicted sex offenders or child abusers;

• Increase in the number of ICE enforcement and removal staff, ICE litigation teams, CBP officers, and Border Patrol processing coordinators;

• Enhanced coordination with NGOs and local governments to prevent release of migrants into small communities poorly equipped to handle the influx of a large number of migrants.