Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability Following Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Visit to Border Detention Facilities in McAllen, Texas
August 11, 2019
McAllen, TX – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks following the Congressional delegation’s visit to border detention facilities in McAllen, Texas concluding the Congressional delegation’s visit to the countries of the Northern Triangle and to the U.S. Southern Border. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you Mr. Vela for your leadership. Thank you Mr. Gonzalez for your leadership and your hospitality here today, and Mr. Cuellar for being such a champion, joining your other two colleagues. They share representation of this area with great pride, and compete in terms of who has which blocks in each district, so they’re very proud, which is to say they’re very proud of who they represent.
So, here we are, after three days in the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras — to try to understand better the root causes, what drives the migration to the United States.
Any time Members of Congress have a Congressional delegation make a visit to another country, it’s about security: security for both of our countries, stability in the region. That stability is served by prosperity, which is shared — should be shared by many more people than it is.
Security, prosperity, governance. The problem that we see, the governance problem, not being able to conquer corruption affects security and affects prosperity in those countries. That’s what we saw firsthand, that’s what we knew, that was being enforced, but we have to work together in a cooperative way.
And one way we disagree with a policy of the United States is that we should not be cutting off the resources that help the children, that help the women, that help the indigenous people of the region, that help fight corruption, which is key to making a difference.
It is an honor to be with this very distinguished delegation, especially because four of the Members of the delegation are freshmen in the Congress of the United States, four chair very important Committees. The others are major, senior Members of their Committees, so it is a very distinguished delegation.
And we didn’t come to visit and go home. We came to listen, to learn, share our thoughts, so we can have better public policy. We came here because we always come here. Among us, we’ve been here so many different times. Along the border, from California, where some of us are from and throughout Texas and other states.
We come here to make sure we are honoring the dignity of the migrants coming into our country, that the conditions meet their needs but also respect their dignity and honor the values of America. When we don’t respect the dignity of all of those migrants we lessen ourselves.
It is important to see how appropriated money is being spent to improve how migrants are being treated, but we absolutely have to change our whole policy on comprehensive immigration reform, so these people can come here with respect.
I said to them, some of them, and I said earlier: every one of these immigrants who comes with the hope and determination and optimism to make the future better for their families, well, that’s – those are American traits and these immigrants make America more American with their values.
So let me introduce my colleagues. I mentioned Congresswoman Lucille, Madam Chair Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard from California. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, a Freshman Member. Congresswoman Norma Torres of California, born in Guatemala, received a hero’s welcome there, was an honor to travel with her, with all of them, but, there — you know Henry Cuellar, and that’s an applause line.
And you know Mr. Gonzalez, Vicente Gonzalez, our host here today. And you know, well, Filemon and Vicente were not on the trip, they were here, preparing for our visit here, but on the trip – Katie Hill, a freshman Member from California. A champion for peace and better relations with South America, the Chair of the Rules Committee, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. It was an honor to serve with all of these members, but you have to know that Nydia Velázquez is fighting the fight for Temporary Protected Status for people from Central America in the Congress.
Chuy García, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia from Illinois, a Freshman member of Congress. A champion on these causes from Maryland, Anthony – Congressman Anthony Brown. Another Freshman Member from Illinois, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood. Another Chairman, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Elliot Engel of New York. And our delegation was bipartisan because of Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa, it was an honor to have her.
So, again, we have four Chairmen, four Freshmen, everything in between, and we delivered a message of, I believe, of values, of interest and respecting, not assistance, but cooperation among our countries.
And that we’re neighbors, this is our hemisphere, we share it together. We have to cooperate to build a better situation, so that when we have Temporary Protected Status as permanent, then we will be able – then we will be able to say, ‘Stay if you wish, but when you go home, you will have a safe place to take your family to thrive’.
They’re telling me that I should have translation, is that correct? No.
Oh, I want to acknowledge Amata Coleman Radewagan of American Samoa.