“We must do better” at helping migrant children coming alone to America’s southern border, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said following a trip she made late last week to immigrant facilities in Texas.

Lee made the trip to Texas as part of a congressional delegation that toured at least two facilities, including the Carrizo Springs Office of Refugee Resettlement and the El Paso Border Patrol Central Processing Center.

“This is a heartbreaking situation that requires a long-term solution as well as urgent action to reunite families,” said Lee, who added that children arriving at our border alone are experiencing a difficult and often traumatic ordeal.

“In the El Paso facility, I saw a young girl, about six years old, reunite with an older brother, about 10 years old,” Lee said. “When they saw each other, they ran to each other and embraced, both of them crying.”

Lee committed to advocating for more money for social services — such as counseling and education at the facilities — and to ensuring that federal development dollars strengthen economies and further democracy, so that children don’t have to flee violence and corruption.

“People come to the United States seeking a better life,” Lee said. “Immigration has made this country what it is. We must provide just and fair treatment for those seeking a better life in our country.”

Lee is on the House Appropriations Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.