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Sen. Murphy hopes for 'common ground' on immigration reform following trip to border

The immigration issue is viewed as a political weapon, but this time, they're trying to do something different.
Credit: AP
U.S. Sen Chris Murphy, D-Conn., listens to a presentation by Yuma County Board of Supervisors member Jonathan Lines during a bipartisan discussion about issues at the U.S.-Mexico border in the Yuma region, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, inside the conference room at Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton, Ariz. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP)

CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday as part of a Senate delegation to paint a pathway for immigration reform.

Murphy told reporters after his trip that immigration in Washington is viewed as a political weapon, but they're trying to do something different. He said a bipartisan group of U.S. senators is trying to find a common ground to solve a crisis. 

"Unfortunately, very often you have groups of Democrats and Republicans go to the border, the issue is viewed as a political cudgel, we decided to do something different for Democrats, for Republicans," he told reporters on Wednesday. 

In the past year, Murphy said the country saw 2.5 million migrants cross into the U.S. from Mexico and be apprehended at the border, which is a record. He acknowledged that it is becoming hard to manage - and that the impact is felt all over the country, not just in the border states.

"Connecticut is not a border state, but there is no doubt that a lack of order at the border affects us in Connecticut," he said.

While migrants arriving in Connecticut is a good thing, these large unplanned groups put added stress on social services, Murphy said.

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Murphy credited Biden in his proposal put forward last week, which would speed up legal pathways for migrants and reduce unlawful crossing between ports of entry. Murphy said it painted a picture of what the new system should look like. 

"People should be able to apply for asylum in the United States...It's gotta be through a planned orderly process. That's why it makes sense to have more people apply for asylum before they arrive to the United States," he said. 

Congress has been unable to pass immigration reform since the 1980s. 

Murphy was asked during his trip 'why on earth this time would be different,' to which he responded that the Senators on the trip were those who have been able to get things done.

"One of the answers we provided is the group that went to the border is a group that has been able to break through on issues that have similar decades of inaction," he said. 

Those part of the Senate Delegation trip to the border included Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina). 

Murphy said those are the three senators he wrote the bipartisan gun bill with, and to him, that's not a coincidence. He's found that the group has found a way to compromise on difficult issues, like guns, and get bills passed. He hopes that the group that went to the border can come to a compromise. 

"I understand the House is in control, pretty right-wing Republicans. They might not be interested in that compromise but the bond that many of us already have through tough negotiations on issues like guns. The bond we formed through this common experience the last few days, I think, would allow us to at least start a discussion on a bipartisan bill," he said. 

Murphy said one of the things he learned during his trip to the border was that the majority of people crossing into the U.S. are doing so to have a better life. He acknowledged that while there may be dangerous people, but almost everyone wants a solution. 

"We learned that virtually everyone that's crossing the border is doing so to simply seek a better life in the United States," he said. 

The profile of those crossing the border is not the same as it once was 5-10 years ago, according to Murphy. A decade ago it was mainly Mexican immigrants and immigrants from poor countries in Central American, but that's not the case. 

"In the Yuma sector, there are more Russians crossing the border than there are Mexicans. The variety of countries represented at the border is just stunning- Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, but also China, India, Russia," he said. 


Jareliz Diaz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jdiaz@fox61.com


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