President George W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Trump have all been to my home area. Not for rallies, not for campaigning, but as a back drop for the long running debate of how to deal with the border crisis. In the past two years, this area has been the center of one of the largest debates in politics.
As someone who has lived on the border my entire life, I support building the wall. Here’s why.
I was born in McAllen, Texas and have lived here on the border my entire life. Living here for the past 21 years has made me witness to the true horrors of the illegal immigration system and the victims caught in its cycle.
When crossing over, undocumented immigrants pay to travel in groups led by a “coyote.” Coyotes are professional smugglers that charge thousands of dollars to people who want to come into the U.S. These coyotes do more than just lead immigrants across the border, though. They leave undocumented immigrants to die along the way. When they do get across, they put multiple women and young girls into sex trafficking.
Smugglers don’t care about the well-being of those they bring over. Children are often left in the wilderness to die of dehydration and starvation alone because they “slowed down” a group. Those that do make it across will often be near death because of how badly they were treated along the way. Is this something we want to incentivize? Do we want parents in other countries to think that it is worth risking their child’s life to put them in the hands of these smugglers? If they know chances are slim that they will have success coming over illegally, less parents will send their children over unaccompanied and less children will be left to the elements by those paid to bring them over.
Abandoning people isn’t the only thing smugglers do. It is well known that many are serial rapists. Women and young girls suffer at their hands during the sometimes weeks long journey across the border. Amnesty International reported in 2014 that at least 60% of women and girls crossing into the U.S are raped. That number should be shocking to most people, but to those of us that live on the border, it isn’t.
Once these young girls get here, their fate isn’t always better. Because the number of unaccompanied children has grown over the years, smugglers reach the U.S with a large amount of young girls that they can then put into sex trafficking without anyone being around to stop them.