FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesTexas Congresswoman Accused of Using Staff to Coach Illegal Immigrants on Asylum Loopholes

The allegations against freshman Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16) come amid continuing tensions at the U.S. southern border.
July 10, 2019
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A Washington Examiner report alleges that Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s (D-TX-16) staff has been venturing into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to coach asylum seekers on how to circumvent U.S. policy with the help of a loophole.

That loophole within the “Remain in Mexico” policy states that asylum-seekers who crossed the Mexican-American border — and who are waiting for ruling on their appeal — must speak Spanish for them to be returned since they could remain in Mexico for years awaiting a decision.

The Examiner says it spoke to multiple border patrol officials on background who claim Rep. Escobar’s staff has been interviewing illegal immigrants to find individuals who have been wrongly returned to Mexico under this policy.

However, those officials also said they believe migrants are being coached to say they do not speak Spanish when they otherwise did before as well as claim they have health issues where none existed the first time around.

“What we’re hearing from management is that they’re attempting to return people, and the story was changed in Mexico, where a person who understood Spanish before now doesn’t understand — where a person who didn’t have any health issues before now has health issues,” one official told the Examiner.

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“That would be illegal,” Ken Cuccinelli — who is acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director — said in a radio interview. “It would be crossing a new line,” Cuccinelli added, and that if true, it “would be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.”

Cuccinelli, the 2014 Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, was appointed by President Trump to his current position in June.

Rep. Escobar responded to the accusation saying, “The [Washington Examiner] has published a fabricated story resulting in death threats against me and my staff.”

She continued, “This hit piece is fueled by xenophobia and misinformation. But guess what, guys? These attacks won’t deter me doing my job, upholding my oath, and pushing for accountability.”

Escobar was first elected last year to Beto O’Rourke’s former House seat after his failed U.S. Senate run.

This accusation comes at a time when tensions at the border are boiling over due to a continued large influx of illegal border crossings over recent months and concerns over the condition of detainees in overwhelmed border facilities.

During that time, some congressional Democrats and presidential candidates have shifted their stances on whether or not a “crisis” on the border even exists — with some moving from outright denial to now blaming the Trump administration.

Customs and Border Protection apprehension numbers for June have not been posted yet. Those numbers are expected to dip from May’s 13-year high mark as the harsh summer heat sets in.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.