Texas lawmakers holding hearing Friday about migrant surge and costs

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A line of migrants being processed at the newly opened detention facility in Carizzo Springs, Texas, are shown during a media tour on July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Lawmakers will hold a joint hearing Friday at the Texas Capitol to probe the increase in asylum-seeking migrants who are crossing through Texas’ Southwest border. The House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety and the International Relations and Economic Development Committee has called the 2 p.m. hearing — just weeks after the 86th Legislature adjourned — at a time when migrants continue to stream across the border, yet the federal government appears to be lax in its response to the surge, Texas lawmakers say.

“The federal government has been slow to act.,” Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Poncho Nevarez said in a press release. “If we are going to protect lives, secure the border and work in advancing discussion of immigrants, it starts here.”

The hearing comes after the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general reported widespread overcrowding and mistreatment of migrants detained at Texas detention facilities. Texas lawmakers will likely probe whether migrants, including children, are being subjected to harsh and unsanitary conditions and work to understand the economic hardship it is causing small towns, counties and nonprofit organizations that are shouldering the burden of helping to care for migrants.

“You have a system that’s in place out there that’s pretty much overwhelmed. And that’s everything from the Border Patrol being overwhelmed and their ability to process and their ability to maintain the integrity of the border, to the courts, to the facilities, to the ability of the NGOs (the non government organizations),” said state Sen. Pete Flores, a Republican who represents District 19, which includes San Antonio, in advance of the hearing.

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