Posted: Jun 26, 2014 6:25 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 3:01 PM
McALLEN - A Honduran delegation, headed by that country's first lady, arrived in Hidalgo County Thursday to learn more about the wave of illegal immigrants impacting the region.
Honduras First Lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez echoed U.S. officials by calling the surge in immigration a humanitarian issue. She said the crisis also is affecting her country.
Garcia said she wants to find out what both nations can do to find solutions.
Garcia and the Honduran delegation got a first-hand look of the river's edge. They also visited Border Patrol facilities and met one-on-one with families and children at the Weslaco station.
"To be honest, it was very moving. I'm speaking as a mother. I saw many children who look very sad and worried. I also saw many mothers carrying their children who were very distraught. It was very difficult to see. Their needs are being addressed, but this situation has taken a toll on them," Garcia said.
Garcia said she wanted to hear the experiences the families endured during their trip into the United States. She said the information will be used to educate people in her country about the dangers of crossing illegally.
"There are a lot of parents here in the United States who pay between $5,000 to $15,000 to bring their children. I'm urging these people not to bring them to the United States and expose them to dangers such as rapes and death," Garcia said.
"Instead, they should use their money to help their people in our country so they can have a better life," Garcia said.
Garcia said human smugglers are misleading Honduran families. She said rumors in Honduras claim that children will be legalized when they enter the United States.
"For them, it's a business. They're misinforming our people, people who are very poor and not educated. They're being fooled with false hopes and expectations that if they come to the United States they will get permits to work and stay here," she said.
"Their immigration status is not going to be legalized. They will be sent back to their country," Garcia said.
Garcia said the United States government must clarify its immigration policy. She said by doing so, it would get the word out and possibly stop the illegal-immigration crisis.