The overcrowding at immigrant detention facilities has everybody's attention nowadays. State Representative Terry Canales of Edinburg's 40th District took a tour of one. He later went on Facebook saying he broke down in tears afterward.
"Nothing like that has ever happened to me before," Canales said. "And in fact, thinking right now, I almost get emotional. Because I just picture all those little kids with their faces pressed against the glass and I don't care who you are, I don't care what your stance is on immigration... We as a country are not made up of the moral fiber to treat children like criminals and house them in cells."
Canales defers to the federal government on immigration policy, saying there isn't much that can be done at the state-level.
He calls the situation we have now a humanitarian crisis. His office gets calls asking what can be done. The calls get referred to charities such as Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, who are caring for the refugees. He also asks lawmakers to visit the Rio Grande Valley and see it for themselves.
"I don't think that I would've appreciated it. When you read the numbers it's one thing, and the numbers are staggering," Canales said. "I want my colleagues in the legislature to bring their United States congressman with them. So we can see this, so they can see it with their own eyes and we can make a difference."
The problem is not just the hundreds who cross over every day, according to reports. It's also where to put the women and children as they're processed by an overworked Border Patrol.
"No matter how you do it, they're part of a legal system now," Canales said. "The administration needs to focus on creating the immigration infrastructure to deal with the flow that exists."
Canales says he'd like to see more immigration judges down in the Valley.
Immigration is a hot potato issue in politics. In the Valley, it's turning into something too big to ignore.