McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — As the staff of Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez’s tallies up total recent immigration-related costs for possible reimbursement, he says what is really needed is for Congress to implement “comprehensive immigration reform” to stop the flow of immigrants and alleviate strain on border communities.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday sent a letter to all 254 county judges in the state asking they provide “a full and accurate estimate of the fiscal impact of the current border crisis on their counties.” Abbott said he plans to bill the federal government for the immigration-related expenses.
Cortez says he has instructed his budget director to tally up the South Texas county’s immigration-related costs since the latest surge began after President Joe Biden took office.
He says while he certainly would welcome reimbursements to costs spent in the county for transporting, housing, feeding and testing asylum-seekers for COVID-19, he said he believes Congress needs to enact meaningful changes to the country’s entire immigration policy first and set a clear direction forward. He said appropriating pay-back funds, or passing some immigration reforms that only address part of the ongoing problems, will not get to the root of the overall situation.
“We want to make sure that the federal government has a comprehensive immigration plan. We cannot continue to deal in a piecemeal basis and constantly change the policy from time to time, based on the current administration. I believe the United States of America needs a comprehensive immigration plan to determine what our needs are and once determined that is the goal,” Cortez told Border Report on Monday via phone.
“In the meantime, we in the border communities are having to deal with it because the government doesn’t have the system in place to test them for COVID,” Cortez said. “They turn them over to our communities.”
By Sandra Sanchez for BORDER REPORT
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