Congressman visits border seeking facts on immigration

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, arms folded, listens to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas.

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — A congressman from central Washington says he’s more determined to work for immigration reform after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas.

“After my tour, I am as determined as ever that border security and immigration reform must go hand-in-hand, which requires both sides of the debate to come to a legislative compromise,” Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said in a statement.

He visited a border wall and listened to briefings by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement personnel.

Newhouse called the visit “eye-opening,” and said he heard compelling stories about how hard federal officers work to enforce laws for the protection of Americans and immigrants.

“Not only do these enforcement professionals need more technology, infrastructure and personnel, but they need Congress to update our broken immigration system which currently encourages illegal immigration,” he said.

Every aspect needs to be addressed, from working with countries from which migrants leave to increasing border security to humane enforcement of laws, he said.

Newhouse and others in Congress are working toward a stand-alone vote before the August recess on related agricultural labor legislation. The goal is to address legal work authorization for illegal immigrants working in the U.S., changes to or replacement of the H-2A-visa guestworker program and implementation of E-verify (electronic verification of employment eligibility).

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