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Politicians Tour San Ysidro Port Of Entry, Praise Operations

Congressmen talk to media outside San Ysidro Port of Entry, Feb. 22, 2019.

Photo by Jean Guerrero

Above: Congressmen talk to media outside San Ysidro Port of Entry, Feb. 22, 2019.

U.S. House majority leader Steny Hoyer toured the San Ysidro Port Of Entry Friday to evaluate a recent pilot program to return some asylum-seekers to Mexico while they await their day in U.S. court.

San Diego Democratic Congressmen Juan Vargas, Scott Peters and Mike Levin were all there to welcome Hoyer for the visit with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

RELATED: San Diego Judge Considers Expanding Migrant Family Reunification Case

Vargas condemned the pilot program, saying asylum seekers aren’t safe in Tijuana amid record homicides. Peters agreed with him. More than 70 asylum-seekers have been sent back to Mexico under the program. But Hoyer avoided condemning the program, instead praising the port of entry for its efficiency.

“It has a capacity to process people humanely … we should have infrastructure like this in all of our border entry points," he said.

The San Ysidro Port of Entry is the busiest land border crossing in the U.S. But due to a surge of families seeking asylum in the U.S., it faces a backlog of thousands of asylum-seekers who must wait weeks before they can speak with a Customs and Border Protection officer.

RELATED: Mother's Journey Shows Some Asylum-Seekers Are Reaching The US

The politicians said what is needed for greater border security isn’t a wall, but better technology, personnel and other investments in ports of entry.

They rejected the idea that there is a national security crisis at the border, calling Trump's national emergency declaration "a fake crisis."

They also toured a migrant shelter in San Diego operated by the San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coalition of human rights and legal advocacy groups. They have been providing beds, food and other resources to asylum-seekers while they await their day in court.

U.S. House majority leader Steny Hoyer toured the San Ysidro Port Of Entry Friday to evaluate a recent pilot program to return some asylum seekers to Mexico.

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