These are not economic migrants simply seeking the American Dream, but rather fleeing for their lives, and those of their children, and seeking our protection. They made the life-threatening decision not to give in to the drug cartels and gangs, and instead left their homes with whatever they could carry on their backs.
I traveled to El Paso, Texas, to tour an ICE facility and met a young single mother who made the incredibly long journey from Guatemala desperately trying to save her young daughter. She endured severe domestic abuse, and the cartels had killed many in her family. She had no money to pay their demands, so she fled.
When she crossed the border at the official port of entry in El Paso, she was taken to the massive ICE detention facility, while her young daughter was taken and sent to a facility in another state. As we spoke, she was wearing an ankle monitor while waiting for her first court hearing and there were no plans to be reunited with her daughter. This story is similar to thousands of others.
The narrative on both sides of the aisle on this issue is so often wrong and used for political gain. Border patrol performs an essential function in keeping our borders secure. They are badly under-resourced and trying to work within a system that is confusing and complex.
We need leaders with the courage to stand for secure borders, but also who will enforce it in a humane way in accordance with our American values. No mother should be separated from her child. We will only solve this problem if Congress is willing to act on meaningful immigration reform.