Rep. Steven Horsford did not like what he saw in South Texas on Saturday.
“It was very emotional and heartbreaking to see children of all ages crammed into a concrete-floor cell. It is a very dire situation,” the Nevada Democrat said.
Horsford joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Ruben Hinojosa and Filemon Vela of Texas on the trip. The group of Democrats toured the South Texas Detention Facility in Brownsville, where unaccompanied children in the country illegally are being held. The children are mostly from Central America.
According to Horsford, many of the children are escaping less than favorable situations in their home countries and hoping to reunite with family members living in the United States.
“They are leaving because of distress with gangs, poverty and human trafficking,” Horsford said.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that more than 50,000 minors traveling without adults have been caught crossing the border since October. The number could increase to 90,000 before the end of the year.
Many including Horsford are calling the situation a humanitarian crisis that needs to be swiftly addressed.
Horsford said Southern Nevada will not be playing any role in the housing of these children.
“There is no indication that Southern Nevada will be providing housing to the children, but they will be taken to other parts of the country,” Horsford said.
While he did not indicate his thoughts on a long-term solution to the problem, Horsford emphasized that the children need to be transferred to other facilities as soon as possible.
“They have been held with Border Patrol for over 100 hours. They need to be placed in other agencies. That way, Border Patrol agents can be relieved and continue to do their jobs,” Horsford said.
He and his colleagues also received a briefing from Customs and Border Protection about the increase of unaccompanied children crossing southern border.
“I am hopeful that we will be able to find a dignified way to help these children in the way that is needed,” he said.
Contact Paulina Rojas at email@example.com or 702-383-0206.