Rochester Hills Mayor Barnett Part of U.S. Mayors Tour of Southern Border Facilities

U.S. Conference of Mayors Leadership and Border State Mayors Examine How Crisis is Affecting Cities

Barnett and others look toward a border officer who addresses the group

Mayor Barnett with Mayor Dee Margo and Mayor John Giles

A bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) was in El Paso, Texas for a first-hand look at the continuing situation at the southern border. Led by USCM President, Rochester Hills (MI) Mayor Bryan Barnett, the delegation met with Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for a 90-minute roundtable discussion of current border issues. The mayors also toured CBP facilities in which newly arrived migrants are being processed and housed. The delegation also toured the commercial and passenger vehicle processing facilities, at El Paso’s Bridge of the Americas, and was briefed on operations by CBP officials.

The visit to El Paso underscored the frontline role that cities are playing as this humanitarian crisis unfolds. The mayors also held a news conference after touring facilities. Watch the entire video, or view Mayor Barnett’s appearance below.


Following the events, U.S. Conference of Mayors President Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills (MI) said, “We’re grateful to the Acting Secretary for meeting today, allowing us to view these facilities, and responding to our questions. Cities were among the first to feel the impact of this crisis, and local communities have made extraordinary efforts to alleviate the human suffering. We’re pleased that Congress recently provided some emergency funding, but it’s clear that more must be done to meet the needs at the border. We cannot allow partisanship to get in the way of solving this crisis.”

“This isn’t some far-off problem for us,” said El Paso (TX) Mayor Dee Margo. “It’s real, and it’s right here. We are all affected by what happens at the border. I’m pleased that Acting Secretary McAleenan was here today to provide an update and address our community’s concerns. In the end, all of this is a short-term solution, and ultimately we need Congress to revamp our entire immigration system.”

“I appreciate the progress we have made so far, but we do need to continue to work with the federal government to solve the crisis at our border,” said Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles, who serves as co-chair of USCM’s Immigration Reform Task Force. “We had a frank and candid discussion with Acting Secretary McAleenan about the realities that border cities face each day and the need for the federal government to find solutions that prioritize the health and well-being of asylum seekers without draining community resources.”

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