MIAMI (CBSMiami) – U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez has returned from Texas where he and several other Republican members of Congress visited the border to see the crisis situation firsthand.
“We need to come up with a comprehensive policy of what to do with the children. They come unaccompanied, these children come by themselves, many of them have a number or addresses stuck on their clothes. For us, we need to de-incentive this because this is unbelievably dangerous for those children,” said Gimenez.READ MORE: Taste Of The Town: Chefs Jose Mendin And Santo Agnello Open Italian Eatery Casa Isola
The U.S. Border Patrol is holding more than 4,200 minors, without parents, in over-crowded processing facilities, according to government records. It’s a more than 30-percent increase over last week. Nearly 3,000 of those children have been in Customs and Border Protection custody for more than three days – longer than the legal limit.
“It really broke my heart to see those hundreds of kids, ranging I would think from 4 to 17. There were literally hundreds of them,” said Gimenez.
The congressman said the Biden administration is to blame for the influx of migrants making their way to the U.S.
“This is just the beginning of what we consider to be an onslaught due to the change in policies that we see from the Biden Administration,” he said.
Gimenez said we need more border agents and to finish construction on key parts of the border wall.
“We need to restore order to our border. We need hundreds of more judges to expedite the asylum hearings of these migrants who are coming over,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson said the Biden Administration needs time to fix the problem.
“You have to remember that Mr. Biden has only been in office 60 days. So all of this happened under Trump. You have to remember he inherited a crisis. We have to give him the opportunity to solve that crisis,” she said.READ MORE: Missing California Tourist Angela Morrisey Found In Medley
The federal government will now hold thousands of teenage boys at the Dallas Convention Center which will act as an overflow location. A temporary tent facility 500 miles south of Dallas is holding more than a thousand children and teens, some as young as four.
Gimenez said we could end up seeing kids once again at the holding facility in Homestead.
“We haven’t heard officially that it’s going to be opened but I would expect with opening up of the convention center in Dallas that eventually this may be open,” he said.
The Biden administration has turned to FEMA for help in battling the logistical challenges for shelter and processing.
Advocates from the Florida Immigrant Coalition said kids should not be held in detention centers.
“An expedited program to get those kids into homes, reunited with their family members or sponsors is key,” said Maria Rodriguez.
“Put them in facilities that feel like home, put them with foster parents or churches like they did with the Peter Pan kids when they came from Cuba,” added Melissa Taveras.
Gimenez is urging lawmakers to overhaul immigration policies to protect migrants entering the U.S. and children from human trafficking at the border.MORE NEWS: Zoo Miami Helps Discover A Brand New Spider Species In Miami
The U.S. House is expected to debate two immigration bills this week, one to protect so-called Dreamers, the other would provide legal status for farmworkers.