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Austin, TX – In an op-ed published yesterday in the New York Times, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of El Paso, noted that Donald Trump’s obsession of building a wall has little to do with national security but is more about catering to a base that’s become increasingly nationalistic.
As a Member of Congress who represents the border, Congresswoman Escobar brings a perspective and understanding of the region that is often lacking in our political discourse. She goes on to call President Trump’s policies on the border and immigration inhumane, which following a report uncovered yesterday about the abuses undertaken by this administration against asylum seeking families, is spot on.
Below is an excerpt from the New York Times op-ed from Congresswoman Escobar. Find the story in its entirety here.
Over the last month, I have traveled in three congressional delegations to El Paso and southern New Mexico. We heard from federal law enforcement, toured detention centers and Border Patrol stations, and listened to human rights and legal advocates who have worked with migrants for decades.
Some of us even saw where Felipe Gómez Alonzo, an 8-year-old Guatemalan who recently died while in custody, and his father were apprehended.
Obviously, El Paso and its metropolitan area, including Ciudad Juárez, in Mexico, is just one point along a very long border. But everything we saw demonstrated why President Trump’s call for a wall is simplistic and misguided. While there is indeed a crisis on the border, it’s not the one the president describes — and, in fact, his “solution” will only make things worse.
The border runs for 2,000 miles. Some of it runs through impassable terrain, some alongside cities like El Paso. About 700 miles of it already has a wall. In other words, the border may look like one long, thin line on a map, but in reality it is much more complicated.
When we talk about a crisis along the border, this is what it looks like: desperate families overwhelming agents who get little direction or support from their local offices, let alone Washington.
This year, Congress needs to investigate the inability of a well-funded agency to adapt, why supervisors ignored the alarms raised by their agents on the ground, how two children (Felipe Gómez and 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin) died as a result, and how we best address the root causes of changed migration.
President Trump and his base won’t end their obsession with border security until there’s not a single undocumented crosser — an impossibility. For them, of course, this isn’t about border security; it’s about nationalism and isolationism. For the rest of us, it’s about finding a humane solution to a humanitarian challenge.