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Poloncarz joins county leaders at US border to examine impacts on county governments


Thu, Mar 28th 2024 06:30 pm

Says sites in El Paso County, Texas, highlight best practices, inform policy advocacy efforts

Submitted by the Office of Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz this week joined county leaders from across the country in El Paso County, Texas, to assess real-world impacts of federal immigration policy. Organized by the National Association of Counties (“NACo”), the trip to the U.S. southern border included visits to facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, El Paso County and nonprofit organizations, highlighting the importance of collaboration and intergovernmental partnership in addressing the needs of migrants and asylum seekers.

“In attending this important trip, I hoped to learn how migrants are processed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol upon entering the United States, and learn from my fellow county colleagues how they are responding to the influx of immigrants in their communities,” Poloncarz said.

Attendees included members of NACo’s immigration reform task force, chaired by El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, as well as other leaders whose counties are acutely impacted by immigration and recipients of the FEMA shelter and services program (“SSP”) resources.

The group toured and met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Border Patrol officials at the Paso del Norte port of entry, the El Paso sector headquarters, the Santa Teresa Station and the El Paso Hardened Facility. They also heard from representatives from the El Paso County Migrant Support Services Center, the Sacred Heart Church, and a shelter for asylum seekers and migrants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Poloncarz added, “Having discussions with and learning from the wide variety of individuals and organizations working on the migrant issue at the border was a great opportunity to separate fact from fiction and gain a new, informed understanding about how migrants enter the U.S.”

NACo’s immigration reform task force provides a forum for county officials to discuss the impact of federal immigration policy on local governments and communities, and to engage with federal decision-makers on matters related to immigration.

For more information about the immigration reform task force and the consensus principles that guide its federal advocacy, click here.

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