Transcript: Rep. Tony Gonzales on “Face the Nation,” Dec. 18, 2022

Transcript: Rep. Tony Gonzales on “Face the Nation,” Dec. 18, 2022

Face the Nation


CBS News

Gonzales claims it’s a “dire condition” in El Paso

Gonzales claims it’s a “dire” situation in El Paso as the city prepares for Title 42’s ending


Below is a transcript from a conversation with Rep. Tony Gonzales, which aired Sunday, December 18. 2022, on Face the Nation.

MARGARET BRENNAN Good morning, Congressman.

REP. TONY GONSALE: Good morning Margaret. Thank you for having us on.

MARGARET BRENNAN – You heard Senator Brenan calling for reform. Title 42 will disappear unless the Supreme Court intervenes. What has the federal government said about what is coming to your area in the next days?

REP. GONZALES (Yes, it is dire in El Paso). As you all know, El Paso declared a state emergency. This is what you do in case of a hurricane, fire, or earthquake. It’s a hurricane affecting migrants. I represent 823 miles from the southern border. This is exactly what I saw in El Paso last year. I was in El Paso just a few days ago and saw something new at the migrant centre. I have been to the processing center many times. I saw hundreds of migrants in a pod. They call them pods. It is basically a large cell that can hold about 100 people. The odor is horrible, there’s only one bathroom. There are eight pods there. These are the ideal conditions. Just above the hill, there are a thousand, just over 1000 migrants, waiting in outdoor conditions. Not to mention those who are waiting by-by-by the bridge and elsewhere. It’s a very difficult situation in El Paso.

MARGARET BRENNAN – I just want to tell our viewers, who are just looking at the video you provided to CBS, that I believe that you shot inside those facilities.


MARGARET BRENNAN : We are relying upon that cell phone video in part because CBS News, and other media outlets, have not been allowed to film inside these facilities recently. Why do you believe it is important that the public see what’s going on inside?

REP. GONZALES (Yes, Margaret), I went there to find the ground truth and to share it with others. Also, to let the Border Patrol agents who are under tremendous stress know that they are not forgotten. And I was shocked by what I saw, and I wanted the world to know. It’s not about politics. It’s not about trying to create an image that isn’t there. This is the truth. This is the truth. We are not yet at the worst. It’s not good for everyone to see hundreds of people confined in a single area. I also saw people without jackets and socks. It’s going be in the teens this week. It’s a very sad scenario. I’m done with the finger-pointing. I don’t care about how we got here. How can we get out? There are some things the administration can do immediately–

MARGARET BRENAN: What do you like?

REP. GONZALES: To relieve this stress. Yeah. This is not the first time that an administration has faced a crisis. Every presidency about President Obama, Trump, has.

MARGARET BRENNAN – This is a hemispheric influx of migrants. This is a hemispheric emergency.

REP. GONZALES: That’s true. It’s not like this, though. What can the administration do to help? Title 42 is gone. We have pushed and shoved and pushed, but we are only three days away from Title 42 being gone. What are some things the administration could do? They can re-implement a few programs that made sense, such as PACER or the HEART program. This basically means that you have immigration judges at the border and your asylum case is heard in days instead of years. If you don’t qualify for asylum, you are returned to your country of birth via repatriation flights. You can turn that process back on with some enforcement and the stress levels drop. I worry that if this doesn’t happen we might be closing down bridges. El Paso is worth $138 billion in trade. If you close down 60 million of that trade and commerce, it will cost the city $60 million. It will affect everyone, not just those who live near the border.

MARGARET BRENNAN – So the Biden administration has asked Congress for $3.4 billion to help prepare for this-this surge. Do you believe this will happen? Would you vote in favor?

REP. GONZALES (I think it’s necessary). It’s essential. But just throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it. There are many soft-sided facilities. It is difficult to enforce the laws that are already in place. I would also argue that most people who come over are simply trying to live a better lifestyle. That’s what I get. They are coming to this country for economic-economic opportunities, but they don’t qualify for asylum. Referring to immigration reform, I would love a conversation with administration to discuss how to make work visas work for me. Pathway to citizenship, amnesty for those who arrive dead on arrival. What people have tried in the past has never worked. You have to start from scratch and work your way up. I hosted the pres


REP. GONZALES (Rep. Gonzalez): I hosted President in the valley six months ago. I asked him, “Mr. President, would you like to visit me about the border?” He was open to it. He agreed to it, but I have yet to have that conversation.

MARGARET BRENAN: You’re right, you’re putting your finger to the need for bipartisan legislation. To be fair, many of your fellow Republicans don’t think that way. As you know, there are calls to impeach Homeland Security Secretary. Michael Chertoff, the Bush-era Homeland Security Secretary, was interviewed on this program. He said that this was a political stunt and a wasteful performance on impeachment. It is unlikely that this will ever happen. How can you defend your party’s decision to prioritize impeachment when it is a critical crisis that requires substantive legislation?

REP. GONZALES (Rep.): We must secure the border. It is very difficult to have a conversation about immigration reform when the border does not exist. I am proud to say that I have hosted close to 100 Members of Congress in the past two years.

MARGARET BRENNAN : I asked about impeachment.

REP. GONZALES – Impeaching Mayorkas

MARGARET BRENNAN : Yes, that’s what the Republican leadership is talking to about prioritizing.

REP. GONZALES (Yes, I believe that it’s going to- hearings will absolutely take place. We will see where it leads, but I take impeachment very seriously. This is not a matter of emergency, break the glass. But impeachment. It’s a long process. El Paso is in dire need of help right now, not in a year.

MARGARET BRENAN: Congressman, it’s all right. Good luck to you and your family. In the next days. Congressman Gonzales, we will be keeping track of everything.

REP. GONZALES – Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN will be back in a minute. Stay with us.

Thank you for reading CBS NEWS.

Log in or create a free account
For more features, please visit.

To continue, please enter your email address

To continue, please enter a valid email address

Continue reading