Smith Statement On Humanitarian Crisis At The Border
There is a common misperception that the arrival of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States is an immigration problem and a failure of enforcement at our borders. It is not. It is a humanitarian crisis. Our government has the responsibility to reflect our country’s values by treating these children in a humane way as they seek refuge from horrific levels of violence in their home countries. For this reason, I support the supplemental appropriation request to manage this situation.
Our borders are secure as evidenced by the thousands of children that are in the government’s custody. They are being stopped by Customs and Border Patrol and that is the definition of border security. No border security measure can stop people from trying to cross the border to escape violence. This crisis can only be stemmed by addressing the root causes of their migration and helping to improve conditions in their home countries.
These children deserve due process and the full protection that our current laws afford. I oppose simply sending these kids back without consideration of these protections, including asylum. To speed up the review of each child’s case, I support an increase in immigration judges, as well as legal representation that will help children to navigate the legal process. I will fight for these priorities to be implemented as we continue to work on humane solutions to this crisis.