Joyce’s trip to border called ‘eye opening’

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, said his three-day trip to the nation’s southern border in Arizona reaffirmed his support for President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall and closing immigration law loopholes.

“It’s been eye opening to say the least,” Joyce said on a conference call Thursday before he caught a plane.

The purpose of his trip was to fact-find and, he said, “to meet with agents on the front lines to see what they need from Congress.”

While in Arizona, Joyce toured facilities of a company that can build a physical barrier at a record pace — a mile a day.

In addition to supporting a wall, Joyce said he is set to cosponsor legislation that would release children who cross the border only to their parents.

He said he believes children like the ones accompanying adults he saw apprehended this week are being “recycled” to bring more adults across the border.

He described how drug smugglers wait for agents to become occupied with adults with children and then cross the border.

“We toured with the Drug Enforcement Admin­istration,” he said. “They showed us heroin and fentanyl found across the border. It was enough to kill a million people.”

When asked after the conference call, Joyce’s spokesman, Andrew Romeo, said Joyce did not speak with any migrant adult or child during the tour of the Yuma, Arizona. area.

“He was able to observe an apprehension first-hand and also toured a border patrol apprehension holding center where he was able to see many of the children, but he did not have any substantive conversations with them,” Romeo stated in an email.

Joyce had burgers and fries with border protection agents before he rode along with them as they made arrests.

In March, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website tallied apprehensions and inadmissible arrivals at the border at 103,000 — a 12-year high for the month of March.

Joyce said he has seen that the crisis is real.

According to the Washington Post, current White House aides acknowledge privately that a wall will not adequately address the record surge of immigrant families at the border — most of whom surrender to authorities in hopes of winning asylum protections.

Joyce said the legislation he is set to cosponsor would strengthen the system for granting asylum protection for individuals who say they are unable to return to their country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of it.

“Most asylum claims are not legit,” he said.

In addition, Joyce said he saw how immigrants surrender, and said that a wall is needed because it would free agents to focus on arresting drug smugglers who he said are crossing when agents become busy with addressing adults with children.

“It’s amazingly sad how overrun our border patrol agents are,” he said.

On Tuesday, Joyce went on a ride-along with agents. He said they are spread thin, working 16 hours straight.

During the ride-along, he said he saw an apprehension of 32 adults, “each with a child — a fast pass to entry,” he said. “They are not running. They sit down and say they want to be taken into custody. They are housed, fed and an released in under two days. If they had a child with them, they are released into U.S. streets with an assigned hearing date.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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