Local leaders disagree on best way to handle flood of immigrants at U.S.-Mexico border

Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As the influx in undocumented immigrants and children flood the U.S.-Mexico border and more expected to show up on the coming days, local leaders are weighing in on the challenges mounting at the border and steps being put in place to help.

“Simply, we cannot have an immigration policy that allows people to ignore our laws and cross the border indiscriminately without some sort of punishment. That is what’s occurring right now and that is why we are in a crisis we are in,”said State Sen. Chris McDaniel.

McDaniel is speaking out on the current surge of migrants trekking to the U.S.-Mexico border. McDaniel says the President and his administration are not prepared for the huge increase of migrants and children who are coming alone without their parents. He says it’s important to find a way to control this surge.

“The reality of the matter is we need to protect Americans at this stage. Granted, we are melting pot. We are in so many ways a nation made up of people from other countries, but those people did it legally,” said McDaniel.

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance legal project director Patricia Ice disagrees with Senator McDaniel.

“I believe that if we can let people into the country that we should let people into the country. I believe that we should know who is coming into the country, so I am not against people doing paperwork in order to be vetted, " said Ice.

Ice works with thousands of undocumented migrants in the state seeking asylum. She says many of them are fleeing violence and other unbearable hardships and should be given a fair chance at a new life.

“The parents do want a better life for the children, they want the children to be able to eat, they don’t want the girls getting raped, don’t want their boys being forced to go into gangs and some of these children come on their own,” said Ice said.

Currently the border is closed but the United States says it will not expel unaccompanied minors. Congressman Bennie Thompson weighed in on immigration issue on MSNBC.

“The Central American Minors Program is one of those programs where will engage Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and create a process by which young people can make applications in those countries rather than making that dangerous trek through Mexico to try to get the southern border,” he said. “The state department is moving in that direction, and for all intents and purposes we have the number of steps going.”

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