Delaware’s U.S. Senator Tom Carper led a delegation of other lawmakers to the southern border recently to assess the evolving situation of detained unaccompanied children as they attempted cross the Mexico-American border.
“I want to talk about the root causes,” said Carper. “We’ve certainly had an illuminating day.”
The visit comes on the heels of data reviewed by national media outlets released from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection stating migrants crossing states has peaked at its highest level in 15 years, with more than 171,000 migrants being stopped in March 2021, 18,000 of which were unaccompanied minors. That was up from the 97,000 arrested in February.
“Let me cut to the chase: What do we need to do now,” Carper said on April 5, 2021. “God bless you, we saw some wonderful people today doing the Lord’s work, with a lot of kids taking a handout from CBP, where kids are in tough situations, very tough conditions, and they are now in much better conditions, much more humane conditions, learning, being fed, clothed, and are reunited with their loved ones. That’s great. But if that’s all we do, addresses symptoms of these problems, take in the least of these and try to help them, if that’s all we do, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, we’re going to be still doing this.”
Joined by Representatives Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Norma Torres (CA-35), Lou Correa (CA-46), and Jason Crow (CO-06), Carper said they toured the U.S Department Health and Human Services sites housing the unaccompanied and detained children–most from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras–who are fleeing countries where poverty, extreme weather, corruption, and crime are the rampant root causes to mass exodus.
But while current efforts to improve the situation seem to have shown to be effective, Carper said we need to continue doing more.