Hoyer on Surge of Central Americans into US: ‘Not a Border Security Issue’

Penny Starr | October 1, 2014 | 1:44pm EDT
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House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual public policy conference on Sept. 30, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made an unscheduled appearance at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual public policy conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where he said that the recent surge of Central Americans across the U.S. border with Mexico does not represent border insecurity but rather people who want to be in the United States.

“There’s not a border security issue,” Hoyer said at a panel discussion about the more than 66,000 unaccompanied alien children and 66,000 plus “family units” who have crossed the U.S. border over the past year, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics. “We’re a much more secure border.

“We’re having people show up and say ‘We need to be with you. We have family members here. We want to be reunited with our father, our mother, our brothers, our sisters,’” Hoyer said.

The discussion, according to a press release, was about “the recent humanitarian crisis that saw thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America converge along the Texas-Mexico border” and focused on “the systematic problems of violence, poverty and human trafficking in Central America, and address long-term solutions via cooperation between the public and private sectors to improve conditions in the region.”

In his brief appearance, Hoyer said the U.S. immigration system “is not working” and said what’s needed is a way for people “to come to America seeking opportunity.”

“We need to have secure borders,” Hoyer said. “We need to know who is coming into our country.

“But on the other hand, we need to have a system whereby there is a way, as there has historically been, for people to come to America seeking opportunity,” Hoyer said.

The U.S. Department of State’s website has detailed information on the steps that need to be taken to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S.

“To be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative, U.S. lawful permanent resident, or a prospective employer, with a few exceptions,” the website states. “The sponsor begins the immigration process by filing a petition on the foreign citizen’s behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).”

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