SALT LAKE CITY -- Senator Mike Lee spoke for the first time Saturday after he spent a week in Mexico and Guatemala, discussing the migrant caravan that is making it’s way to the United States Border.
“They are genuinely interested in solving this problem,” said Lee.
Lee discussed the migrant caravan with members of the U.S. Embassy and officials from both countries.
“Massive waves of uncontrolled immigration can understandably cause a lot of heartburn,” said Lee. “Not only for people in the United States but for people in Mexico and in Guatemala.”
A lot of heartburn for officials, but a lot of broken hearts for those being turned away.
Meeting with the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, Lee said Morales reported sending back more than 5,000 caravaners who crossed borders illegally to Honduras and El Salvador.
“I think it’s important to remember that we are a nation of immigrants,” said Lee. “Most of us, if we’re not immigrants ourselves, we’re decedents of immigrants. We hope, always, to be a Nation of immigrants—we don’t want that to change. We do want them to go through an orderly process to get here.”
Speaking Spanish and shaking hands, Lee said they also discussed the idea of a Safe Third Country Agreement — something the U.S. arranged with Canada back in 2002.
Lee explained the agreement expects that people crossing through Canada on their way to seek asylum in the U.S. must first seek asylum Canada.
In comparison to other surrounding countries, Lee said Mexico is a safe option for those leaving El Salvador and Honduras — requiring migrants to receive asylum first in Mexico before going through U.S. borders.
“They expressed a willingness to at least consider the idea,” said Lee. “One way or another I think this is going to come to a head and we’ve got to be able to deal with it."