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Sen. Murphy visits southern border, calls for bipartisan immigration bill

Senator Chris Murphy at a roundtable discussion in Yuma.
Office of Sen. Chris Murphy
Senator Chris Murphy at a roundtable discussion in Yuma.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has returned from his trip to the country's southern border.

Murphy joined a bipartisan Senate delegation on a trip that legislators are hoping will inspire a new immigration legislation.

“My hope is that this group that went to the border will be able to sit down and try to hammer out a compromise,” Murphy said. “I understand the House is right now in control of pretty right-wing Republicans. They might or might not be interested in that compromise."

"But the bond that many of us already have through tough negotiations on issues like guns, and the bond that we formed through this common experience of the last few days, I think, will allow us to at least start discussions on a bipartisan bill,” he continued.

Murphy said he hopes to pass a bill in the Senate that allows for a faster asylum process that begins before migrants travel to the border. He also mentioned promoting alternative types of immigration, such as guest worker programs and family reunification programs.

Murphy said although Connecticut is located far from the southern border, it still feels the effects of immigration.

“There is no doubt that a lack of order at the border affects us in Connecticut,” Murphy said. “You saw two and a half million migrants cross that border, be apprehended at the border, last year — that's a record setting number. Many of those migrants end up in Connecticut.”

Murphy said he was surprised to learn people are no longer just coming from South American countries — they are also coming from China, Russia and India more than ever before.

“In the Yuma sector, there are more Russians crossing the border than there are Mexicans,” Murphy said. “The variety of countries represented at the border is just stunning. Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, but also China, India, Russia — people are coming to the United States from all over the world right now."

"And again, the majority of those, 99% of them, are just coming here for a better life," he added. "But it's becoming hard to manage this number of people from this diverse set of places, and so we have got to set up a better, more orderly system.”

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.