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Citation From the December 13, 2022, edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper

JAKE TAPPER: As you know, El Paso does not have the capacity to absorb all the people crossing into Texas, even with the reimbursements going on. In fact, in El Paso, border encounters were 280% in October when compared to the same month last year and then today a reporter saw a group of migrants who made a makeshift camp in a parking garage as local shelters were completely overwhelmed. That group was later kicked out of the garage. Would you call what is happening right now in El Paso a crisis? Because it looks like one from where I'm sitting. 

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR: Yeah, it's absolutely a humanitarian crisis. When we have people sleeping on the streets, that is an unacceptable situation, for them, for the community and there is a solution to this. You know, we have done a great job as a community of essentially helping move folks between what border patrol is doing and what the county of El Paso is doing to make sure that migrants are getting to their final destination because as you know, Jake, El Paso isn't their destination. They are reuniting with family across the country as they await their asylum hearing. Where we don't have the help and support is in the emergency shelter area. Most of these folks have purchased either airline tickets once they've gotten here or gray hound bus tickets but sometimes they can't get a ticket out the same day and, you know, they'll have to wait one day or two days and they need a place to sleep, a place to stay. And our NGOs are beyond capacity. I had a conversation late last night with Rosa DeLauro, our appropriations chairwoman and I see the omnibus as an opportunity, you know, your reporter just talked about the government funding that we're hoping to get done for the next 12 months and that we're hoping to pass before Christmas eve. I'm hoping that that omnibus and I've advocated for and wrote a letter and spoke to Rosa to the chairwoman, we also need in addition to robust funding everything that was laid out by your reporter, we also need federally run emergency shelters so that we don't have folks sleeping on the street and so my hope is that Republicans will see what is happening, will understand that we need the resources to respond immediately to this humanitarian crisis but over the long term, Jake, Congress has kicked the can for too long. There is a way to address not just in a way that promotes security, in a way that promotes our self-interest but in a way that also doesn't sacrifice our values. So I'm hoping that we can work together to get there. 

TAPPER: I know, the department of homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was there and has been at the border. Do you think it would help matters if President Biden came to the border and saw this for himself? And I don't mean that in a gimmicky way of trying to score point because I know Republicans in the House and Senate sometimes sounds like they're trying to score points but you're describing a legitimate humanitarian crisis. It sounds as though it's something that the president would benefit from seeing with his own eyes and maybe he can kick some butts and get the funding and relief that you need. 

ESCOBAR: Jake, I welcome anyone and everyone to the border and the President has an open invitation that I extended early on in his administration. Actually, when he was a candidate and I worked on his immigration unity task force to craft comprehensive immigration reform for the Congress. I will say -- so he's absolutely welcome here any time and I think it's very eye opening any time anyone comes to see for themselves the opportunity and the great challenge that comes with immigration at the southern border.