Lawmakers say legislation needed to sustain migrant drop

Sen. Chris Murphy and Rep. Tony Gonzales both said Sunday the current drop in migrants at the Southern border is probably not permanent — and urged congressional action to be taken on the border.

The Democratic senator from Connecticut and the Republican House member who represents a border district of Texas both acknowledged a recent decrease in migrants but said legislation is needed to make that permanent during interviews with Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Migrant crossings are down 54 percent from record-high levels, according to CBS.

“I don’t know that it’s permanent. And so I think we have to just recognize that without updating the laws of this country, without surging more resources to the border, we can’t count on the numbers staying as low as they are today,” Murphy said. “And remember, today you have about 3,000 people crossing at the border on a daily basis. That’s still a high number compared to what we saw 10 years ago.”

Gonzales, who faces a primary runoff this Tuesday against a far-right challenger, said he doesn’t believe the drop has to do with anything President Joe Biden has done: “This is just Mexico carrying Biden a couple rounds. If Joe Biden wants to secure this thing long term, I think he needs to stop looking at the Senate for a solution and look to the House.”

The two both pointed to the Mexican government as part of the drop: Gonzales noted the June 2 Mexican elections, while Murphy pointed to smart diplomacy between the U.S. and Mexican governments.

“I think the only thing that will bring order to the southwest border is bipartisan legislation. We have a bipartisan border bill if Republicans decided to support it it would pass and we could get it to the president’s desk,” Murphy said. “It’s up to Donald Trump and the Republicans if they want to solve the problem or keep the border a mess because it helps them politically in this upcoming election.”

Murphy was the lead Democrat on a Senate bipartisan border deal that was tanked after Trump urged Republicans to vote against the legislation. Gonzales, who supports the House-led H.R.2 bill, also urged the president to work with the Republican-led House on border legislation, not just the Democratic-led Senate.

“The president has not had any real conversations with anyone in the House. The Senate, yes, they’ve sat down and had these conversations,” Gonzales said. “But in the House, they’ve given no oxygen to it. This is a different Congress than in years past. The House is where I believe you start.”

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