Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Attends the Inauguration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Looks Forward to Holding High-Level, Bilateral Discussions to Address Problems of Mutual Concern to Both Countries

Nov 30, 2018
Press Release

PRESS STATEMENT HEADER

For Immediate Release                                                                  Contact: Robin Chand

November 30, 2018                                                                                    (202) 225–3816

Press Statement

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Attends the Inauguration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Looks Forward to Holding High-Level, Bilateral Discussions to Address Problems of Mutual Concern to Both Countries

 

Jackson Lee—“During my visit to the Mexican Federation, I look forward to participating in high-level meetings to consider ways we can address the humanitarian and diplomatic issues emanating from our shared border.”

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget, and the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, issued this statement on the occasion of the inauguration of the next president of Mexico, and on the need to engage in a frank discussion to solve issues of mutual concern to both nations:   

“As a senior member of the United House of Representatives, I am honored to be the senior member of a delegation of members of Congress to Mexico to attend the inauguration of the incoming President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.  This event comes at an important time in the relationship of our countries and the history of our two republics.  This moment for the Mexican people coincides almost two years after our nation experienced a change of leadership. 

“Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is one of our nation’s most important allies. Mexico is one of America’s largest trading partners.  To illustrate, last year trade between our two countries surpassed $500 billion, aided in no small part by the North American Free Trade Agreement, a signature accomplishment of President Bill Clinton.  NAFTA’s success was not limited to trade.  The pact brought our two neighbors closer together, fostered better relations on the continent, and improved the ability to collaborate on issues important to the health and safety of citizens of both countries.

“One such challenge confronting our countries is presently occurring at our southern border.  The failure of both countries to adequately anticipate the cascading and commensurate issues arising from the immigration issue.  One such cascading issue is the health and safety of men, women and children actively waiting to claim asylum or otherwise migrate to the United States.  Heavy rain and other periodic inclement weather has posed conditions hazardous to health, and conducive to waterborne and other diseases.  Because the prospect for widespread contagion is real, both Mexico and the United States must provide medical staff to ensure that these occasions for disease do not evolve to present regional threats.

“In the United States, we need comprehensive immigration system which includes border security, and guidelines for the conduct of these border agents who, it should be reminded, work for the American people.  Border patrol agents are equipped with millions of dollars of equipment in the form night vision goggles, utility vehicles, and other resources.  These resources must only be deployed consistent with universal humanitarian norms.

“The situation also calls for a comprehensive process for dealing with an international human right—the right to seek asylum to escape persecution.  This includes courts, judges and lawyers equipped to handle the process as it is unfolding in the United States, and also those who can collaborate with Mexico to this end.  For Mexico and its neighbors to the south, I call on Central American countries from where these migrants are emanating, and the countries they traversed on the way to our border, to consider ways in which this crisis can be curtailed, and the plight of these human beings lightened.  I also call on Mexico to create a humanitarian zone, equipped with clean water facilities for all seeking asylum.  Rather than creating hysteria, the United States President should instead make a commitment to processing these asylum claims in an orderly fashion. 

“During my visit to the Mexican Federation, I also look forward to participating in high-level meetings to consider ways we can address the humanitarian crisis at our shared border.  As a senior member of Congress whose district is home to one of the nation’s busiest ports and is one of the largest cities by the border, both issues are of vital importance to me, and the constituents I represent in the Eighteenth District of Texas. 

“As part of this bilateral dialogue, I also look forward to a robust exchange of frank and innovative solutions to some of our respective nations’ shared challenges.  This moment represents an opportunity for both nations to confront and tackle the issues which, from time-to-time, challenge the relationship between our two republics—anchors of democracy, partners in peace, working together for the good all people.”

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Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security and the Budget. She is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.