Amidst the outcries about children being separated from their parents after families illegally cross the border is a reminder of a harsh reality. The lack of proper security at the U.S.-Mexico border has allowed rampant human trafficking to go on for far too long.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen talked about the dramatic increase of illegal aliens posing as “parents” to children that are not their own in order to gain asylum status in the U.S. and stay here to commit crimes.
The people who have abused the asylum system in the U.S. range from dangerous MS-13 gang members to human traffickers bringing stolen women and young children across the border and selling them in America. Loopholes in long-standing asylum laws allow people to stay without proper vetting.
Before she was 18, Maria was one of a number of girls kidnapped in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez. She escaped after four months of captivity, whereas hundreds of other women were either killed or went missing indefinitely.
Like the other girls with her, she was sold as part of the sex trade, was routinely drugged and raped, and witnessed one girl used as a horrific example of what would happen to her if she didn’t obey her captors.
"They took a gallon of gasoline and started pouring it over a girl," Maria recalled. "One of the men told me if you don't do as I say I will do the same to you. I wanted to look away, but they didn't let me. Even though the girl was on fire they kept hitting her and they were laughing as if they were enjoying what they were doing."
At one point, Maria was told to take care of a kidnapped child and had no words of comfort for him.
"One of the gang members took a six-year-old kid. I had to look after him for three hours. He told me he wanted to see his mummy. Then I started crying. I said: 'I don't think you're ever going to see your mummy again.' All he kept saying was, 'I want to see my mummy,'" she recounted.
She said she saw Americans were purchasing kidnapped kids, too. In fact, the U.S. government estimates that 20,000 young women are trafficked across the border each year.
The Trump administration is cracking down on the border, hoping to keep evil people like these human traffickers out. Nielsen says she’s dedicated to making sure the asylum-seeking families truly are families and aren’t tricking the U.S. into allowing this nightmarish trade go on in our country unchecked.
As for addressing the outcry of family separation at the border, Melania Trump has weighed in as the Trump administration wrangles with Congress over how to make changes.
“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” Melania's spokeswoman said Sunday, according to NBC News. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”