congressional visit puts the spotlight back on the Texas border, today, as separation of undocumented migrant adults and children increase, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
A coalition of Democrat lawmakers will be visiting two shelters in Brownsville, where undocumented migrant children are being housed as their parents go through the legal system.
"We want to make sure these places are in compliance. We want to make sure these kids are being treated properly," Congressman Joaquin Castro says. "Most of all, we the administration to change the policy of separating parents and kids."
In fiscal year 2017, the U.S Border Patrol separated 1,065 families out of a total of 75,622 immigrant families.
The agency takes into account the legitimacy of a guardian and each family member’s overall health. They also review the adult’s criminal history and determine if a child is a victim of trafficking.
Of the 703 separated in Fiscal Year 2018 through May, 191 families were separated due to illegitimate guardianship and 72.8% were separated due to concerns regarding the safety of the child.
Texas border Congressman Henry Cuellar, (D-Laredo) who is not part of the visit, says the separations are a result of a broken immigration system.
He says smugglers and human traffickers exploit loopholes in our immigration laws that provide an incentive for migrants to put themselves in extreme danger to illegally cross our borders.
“I do not support any measure that does not take the best interest of the child into consideration- the data above shows that only a small percentage of families are being separated, and when they are, this happens in specific cases where CBP acts in favor of the child’s wellbeing," he tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
Castro (D-San Antonio) is hopeful that the tide is turning. He says there are more republicans demanding change.
"You see more and more saying that this is not right. And part of the reason they're about to say that is that the religious leaders have started to speak up about this."