SAN ANTONIO – U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, alongside other lawmakers, visited detention centers holding undocumented immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley this week.
Vela said while children were given food and provided classes, what shocked him was how young the children were.
“You may have been hearing that the administration is not separating children that are 5 and under, but very clearly, there were at least two or three infants that were under the age of 1,” Vela said.
Families were separated after the announcement of the zero tolerance policy, which refers all border crossings for federal criminal prosecution.
“What they're doing right now, for over 2,000 kids, is turning the American dream into an American nightmare,” Vela said.
Amid concern from the community and protests across the nation, the White House continues to defend the policy.
KSAT spoke with Helen Aguirre-Ferre, special assistant to the president and director of media affairs about what needs to be done. When we asked how long she thinks the policy will last, she said, “That's for Congress to deal with. President is meeting with members of the House this afternoon, and he looks forward to working with Congress.”
Aguirre-Ferre said families should request asylum at ports of entry.
KSAT: “You've seen the audio tapes and seen the pictures of those children in the detention centers. What are your thoughts on those?”
Aguirre-Ferre: "There's no question about it. I couldn't agree with President Trump even more. He said he hates separation of families. That's why we encourage families to not do this.”
KSAT: “How is separating families on the border helpful?"
Aguirre-Ferre: “We are not looking at this on separating families being helpful. We are looking at this at an increase of illegal immigration. In the last three months, we've had 50,000 people who are coming across the border illegally. And we are trying to deal with this the best we can.”
To listen the entire interview with Aguirre-Ferre, click here.