Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will lead a two-day congressional trip to the border of California and Mexico on Sunday and Monday, where he will hear firsthand from federal border patrol agents about efforts to stem illegal border crossings and stop drug trafficking.
The visit will include briefs, his staff said, on various aspects of the border control operation along 66 miles of the border south of San Diego. He will tour several ports of entry, meet with agents and view specialty teams and equipment used to monitor and patrol the border.
“I’d like to hear what kind of trends they are sensing and if they have found any particularly effective strategies to combat illegal border crossings and drug running,” McNerney said in a prepared release.
McNerney will talk from the border with reporters on Monday morning during a call-in press conference.
As a Democrat seeking re-election in a Republican-leaning district, illegal immigration is a subject that will definitely come up during his campaign this year against his expected GOP challenger, former Stockton Assemblyman Dean Andal.
Immigration reform remains a hot button political issue across the nation but Republicans, Democrats and President George W. Bush have been unable to come to an agreement. They disagree on how to handle the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already living in the country and the formation of a guest worker program that wouldn’t cripple industries that rely on migrants such as the picking of crops.
McNerney, who formed an agricultural advisory committee in his district, is a co-sponsor of a bill in Congress under consideration that creates a federally overseen program to permit immigrants to work in the U.S.agricultural industry for a temporary, specified period of time with a specific job, said McNerney spokesman Andy Stone.