Root of US immigration problem is in Washington, says El Paso mayor

El Paso, Texas, Mayor Dee Margo (R) said in an interview that aired Monday on "Rising" that the root of the immigration problem in the U.S. lies in the nation's capital. 

"The symptom and the root cause is out of Washington D.C.," Margo told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton last week. 

Margo pointed to legislation passed in 2008, which he said has made it easier for individuals to seek asylum at the southern border, which has put pressure on immigration authorities. 

"There was a bill passed at the end of 2008 called the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008, and it was designed when there were unaccompanied minors coming from Central America through Mexico to the United States," he continued.

"There was a fear on our part, it's very altruistic on our part in the United States which it should be, that they would be picked up by Mexican cartels, and used as drug mules or in human trafficking," he said. "So we made it easier for those Central American nations to claim asylum, primarily for the children that were coming through, or the young people." 

"It was also I think amended in 2014, but that gives them basically unfettered ability to come into the United States, and claim asylum," he said. "If you notice we're not having the problem with Mexico. There aren't Mexican immigrants coming north. It's only from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras." 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE, who clashed with Margo over immigration earlier this year, pressed Democrats on Monday to work with Republicans to address U.S. asylum laws quickly. 

The president sought to take action on immigration last week, threatening to shut down the U.S. border with Mexico, and directing the State Department to halt aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Trump has long complained that the three Central American countries do not do enough to prevent migrants from coming to the U.S. in search of asylum.

— Julia Manchester