I hope you're having a safe, happy and healthy week. I am back in South Texas to meet with constituents and local officials, listen to their concerns, and talk about my work in Washington.
Across the border, we have seen the impacts that a surge in border crossings have created. The increase in unaccompanied children at the US-Mexico border is a humanitarian crisis and we must find a way to manage the flow of irregular migration. Therefore, I joined Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Sinema (D-AZ) as well as Rep. Gonzales (TX-23) to introduce The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.
This bill would improve both the Department of Homeland Security’s and the Department of Justice’s capacity to manage migration influxes and adjudicate asylum claims in a timely manner, protect unaccompanied migrant children, reduce impact on local communities, ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely, and ultimately deter those who do not have realistic asylum claims from placing themselves in danger by making the treacherous journey to our southern border.
If CBP expects more apprehensions this year than at any point in the past two decades, we need to create common-sense solutions that will comprehensively address this issue. As the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, I am committed to supporting the brave men and women who protect our borders, the border communities who provide humanitarian relief, and the children and families determined to migrate to our country.
Rep. Cuellar Visits West Point
On Friday, April 23rd, I visited the United States Military Academy West Point to receive an in-depth look at how our cadets are prepared for success upon entering our Armed Forces. While there, I had the honor and privilege of speaking about leadership to one of the academy's class. After meeting with the extraordinary men and women at West Point, it's apparent that they define what it means to be patriots, leaders, and American heroes. I have no doubt that they will do incredible things for our country.
Pictured is Rep. Cuellar speaking to a West Point class.
'Conversation with Cuellar' Announces Application Period for Emergency Food and Shelter Program
On Monday, April 19th, I, along with representatives of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program National Board, held a 'Conversation with Cuellar' to announce the open application period for humanitarian reimbursements. Through the American Rescue Plan, I helped secure $110,000,000 for ESFP funding in order to support our local nonprofits and governmental organizations who are providing support services to migrants at the U.S. southern border.
Rep. Cuellar Urges Department of Homeland to Partially Lift Non-Essential Travel Restrictions at Land Ports of Entry
DHS announced the extension of the non-essential travel restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border until May 21. I am disappointed by their lack of urgency and resourcefulness to finding a way to reopen.
I wrote a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, urging DHS to establish and implement a community-based program to partially lift COVID-19 travel restrictions.
There needs to be a better balance between the health of the individual and the health of the local economy. After more than 13 months of suspended travel, it is time to get serious about reopening for cross-border travel.
Read Rep. Cuellar's letter to Secretary Mayorkas here.
Palmview Earth Day Celebration
On Friday, April 23rd, my Outreach Coordinator for Hidalgo and Starr Counties, Nicolas Cruz, attended Palmview's Earth Day Celebration. First held on April 22, 1970, Earth Day is an annual demonstration to support environmental protection.
Pictured are City of Palmview officials with Nicolas Cruz and Congressional Intern, Angela Cantu.
Celebrating Laredo's Newest Art Mural
In honor of Earth Day, the City of Laredo hosted their own celebrations for the community. On Thursday, April 22nd, my Outreach Coordinator for Webb, Zapata, La Salle and McMullen Counties, Melissa Pena, attended the ribbon cutting for Laredo's newest art mural. The mural, designed by Gustavo Estrada, honors the city's unique beauty and culture.
Pictured are City of Laredo officials, Artist Gustavo Estrada, Melissa Pena and others.
Recognizing Early College High School Athlete
On Wednesday, April 21st, my Outreach Coordinator for Webb, Zapata, La Salle and McMullen Counties, Melissa Pena presented a Congressional Certificate of Recognition to Katherine Delgadillo; she was named Newcomer of the Year. Congratulations to Katherine on all her hard work and we look forward to seeing her continued success on and off the field.
Pictured is Early College High School Coach David Valdez, Katherine Delgadillo, Melissa Pena and Early College High School Director Geraldina Arredondo.
National Border Patrol Council Union Local 2455 Building Groundbreaking
On that same Wednesday, my District Manager, Susan San Miguel attended the groundbreaking event for the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455's new building in Laredo. At the event, Susan spoke on my behalf and congratulated the union on the beginning of construction.
Pictured is Susan San Miguel with Local 2455 President Hector Garza.
Small Business Administration Resources
Did you know: Because of the American Rescue Plan, the SBA is now offering several relief options to help small businesses recover from COVID-19.