“If you were parents,” Rep. Rep. Raul Labrador asked Thursday, “would you send your child hundreds and hundreds of miles with [human] traffickers … that are evil people, that are doing harm to them during the trip?”
“So, don’t just think about the kids in the detention facilities, think about all of the children [traveling to the border],” said Labrador, R-Idaho, during the monthly Conversations With Conservatives event on Capitol Hill in which House conservatives meet with reporters.
Ahead of the first of two House votes on immigration legislation addressing both border security and the legal process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, Labrador expressed concern that if a tough immigration reform bill is not put in place, more and more children seeking asylum will be injured, sexually assaulted, or even killed on their journey to the border.
“If you do not react to those pictures [of children in detention centers], you are not human. You have to understand that watching those pictures is devastating,” Labrador said at the event, in which members of the House Freedom Caucus regularly participate.
“But, I also want the media to concentrate on the other pictures that I have seen,” he said.
“The pictures of the rape tree in northern Mexico, where girls are being raped, and they know that that is the ‘price’ they have to pay to come to the United States.”
The four-term congressman said he has heard that children younger than 5 years old are crossing the border alone with help from traffickers. He even found that 10,000 of the 12,000 children in detention centers arrived in the United States without any parents.
“Children are being lost because we have allowed a culture that has increased illegal immigration in the United States,” said Labrador, 50, who was born in Puerto Rico. “[It] has encouraged families to leave these children alone and actually send them on these trips that are hundreds and hundreds of miles by themselves.”