Mayor Saenz meets with DHS secretary during border visit

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 10:23 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas met with border leaders, including Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina in the valley on Thursday.

It’s a meeting that local officials say they had very little feedback from, but it seems that the secretary saved his plans for the cameras after the briefing.

“I would’ve hoped that he would have brought at least a solution or two, or at least a proposal to a solution.”

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz was unsatisfied with the meeting between border leaders and Secretary Mayorkas.

Behind closed doors, he says border leaders like him shared their struggles and asked that changes be implemented and help be provided.

However, their pleas were met with silence.

“Frustrations were actually expressed to the secretary,” said Saenz. “Some mayors passionately as well and basically, his response was to listen.”

Saenz says some of the topics discussed included establishing moratorium on migrant transfers, creating more efficiency in processing migrants, providing more resources to Border Patrol, and reopening bridges to non-essential travel.

While the feedback was next to none during the meeting, the secretary did provide more insight during a press conference right after the briefing that happening behind closed doors, explaining a plan that has four pivotal parts.

“Addressing the root causes; rebuilding and building safe, legal, and orderly pathways for migrants to apply for relief under our laws without having to take the perilous journey north,” said Mayorkas. “Improving security management processing and other measures at our border; and attacking the smugglers. We’ve done a great deal and we need to do more.”

According to Saenz, our area struggles more than other because of our lack of hospital space and medical resources.

Judge Tano Tijerina added that 40% of the migrants being bussed in are positive with the coronavirus.

When Mayorkas was asked about how they will help our overwhelmed area, he responded with the following statement:

“We have built an architecture. The fact of the matter is there are communities that have greater capacity than others. Some communities have greater non-governmental organization capacity than do others, and we are building new processes to make sure that the migrants are tested, charted during transportation, isolated in quarantine as necessary, and we are searching federal resources to address that need.”

As public frustration continues to mount, questions remain unanswered.

Local border leaders says that they hope that they can reach a solution very soon.

If you would like to take a look at the press conference with border leaders and Secretary Mayorkas, you can visit the KGNS News Facebook page and find it under the videos tab.

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