By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – As thousands of unaccompanied children arrive at the southern border, Illinois’ Senior Senator says the problem is “serious” and “heartbreaking.”
According to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill), children are arriving at the border three times as many as in the past.
“I’ve been there, not in the last few weeks, but I’ve been there in the past,” Durbin told WJBC’s Scott Miller. “I’ve seen these children and some of them are literally first graders who are turned loose at the border by the smugglers holding a little plastic bag with a piece of paper and a telephone number written in it. And that’s it. They present themselves in the hopes that someone will call that number to a family member in the United States and they can be reunited with them.”
“It is a heartbreak to see these things and to imagine what their families were thinking when they turned these little children over to the people who are coyotes (smugglers), smugglers, or whatever you want to call them. It must have been an extremely desperate situation.
LISTEN: Senator Dick Durbin speaks with WJBC’s Scott Miller.
Senator Durbin remembers Walter Mondale and addresses the southern border https://t.co/mICVADeXso
— WJBC AM-1230 (@WJBC) April 20, 2021
“Let’s face the reality. Number one, we are going to treat these kids humanely; do everything in our power to make sure they are reunited with their families one way or another. Secondly, there is a court order that requires it. We have no choice, we have to go through this, triple the number we still have to do it. The third is, this has to come to an end. We’ve got to have control of our southern border.”
One way to fix the problem, according to Senator Durbin, is to have the U.S. work with surrounding countries to ensure they encourage their citizens to stop crossing the border illegally.
Additionally, Durbin added that even former President Trump’s border protection wall would not have stopped the border crisis.
“No. I mean first, he (former President Trump) spent all his time moving money from the Department of Defense into this wall and still only managed to put up a relatively small part of it. We are not going to build a wall to stop this, there is more to it. Walls have their place, fences have their place, checkpoints have their place, but this notion that there’s a wall around America is not realistic.”
Blake Haas can be reached at News@WJBC.com.