Sen. Deb Fischer says her trip to the southern border gives her a better perspective on the crisis of unaccompanied minors coming into this country illegally.
Fischer says Border Patrol agents gave first-hand accounts to the group of senators, disclosing that while some young children come across the border, most are 14-to-17 year old boys.
Fischer says a message must be sent to Central America.
“I think the compassionate thing to do is to discourage people from sending their children on this long, very long, very dangerous journey,” Fischer tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Fischer was part of a group of six United States senators who traveled to the border late last week. The group received briefings at the McAllen Border Patrol Station, the Hidalgo Bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, and facilities at Lackland Air Force Base which house some of the nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who have come into the country illegally. Approximately 200 have been placed in Nebraska.
Fischer says Congress needs to tackle the problem.
“We need a system that’s in place where we can encourage legal immigration and we definitely need to discourage people from coming into this country illegally,” Fischer says.
The group of senators included fellow Republicans John Cornyn of Texas, Susan Collins of Maine, John Boozman of Arkansas, and John Barrasso of Wyoming. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Independent Angus King of Maine also went on the trip.
The delegation met with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and the Chief Border Patrol Agents.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:55]