At the base of the Statue of Liberty are engraved the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These words have long embodied American values to people from around the world who face persecution, violence, poverty and other untenable circumstances. Most of our ancestors were immigrants, and many of them came here as refugees escaping persecution. We are a nation of immigrants and their ideas, cultures, and contributions have allowed the United States to become the greatest nation in the world. We have a character and diversity unlike any other nation—it is the strength of our democracy.

However, under President Trump there has been a dramatic departure from those values. Previously, we welcomed immigrants and saw them as assets to our country. Today, we separate parents from their children and put them in cages. We once welcomed those seeking asylum from violence and persecution. Today, we turn our backs to these refugees, and try to keep them out.

This is not the America we or the America should be. We need complete immigration reform, with sensible, humane policies. The process today is far too long, and complicated, for those seeking entry into our country. Furthermore, we need to provide solutions for the undocumented immigrants already here who are working, raising a family, contributing to our economy and living the American Dream. The President’s plan, which is to have ICE roundup and deport every single one of them, is not only cruel, it is unrealistic.

There is no quick fix to these issues. The President believes the cure for all the country’s problems is to build a large wall stretching across our Southern border. It’s an unworkable, ridiculous plan. A wall would be almost impossible to build, given that much of the Southern border is made up of private land, the Rio Grande River, and sensitive environmental areas. The federal government would have to seize land from private citizens, which would lead to lengthy and expensive court fights. The bottom line is, a border wall is not the answer. We need 21stcentury solutions and technology to keep our borders safe.

The border wall is fight that only the President wants. Even when Republicans had full control of the government under President Trump, they never attempted to pass funding for a border wall. They knew it was foolish, but this President was undeterred. He declared a phony national emergency, divert millions of federal dollars to build his border wall. I was proud to vote yes on H.J. Res. 46, a resolution to terminate President Trump’s fake national emergency declaration.

Just recently, I visited Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico, where difficult conditions have forced people to leave their homes for a chance at a better life for themselves and their children. Staying in El Salvador, in particular, would mean dealing with constant violence. We have a history of providing aid to address the root causes of violence, but President Trump has unilaterally sought to cut humanitarian aid to the Northern Triangle. That is why I introduced the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act, which also passed the House on a bipartisan basis. The bill authorizes $577 million of assistance to Central America, promotes inclusive economic growth, combats corruption, and places targeted visa bans, and assets freeze on corrupt individuals.

Many of the immigrants the President continuously attacks arrived in our country as minors accompanied by their parents. The President’s heartless actions towards these minors, or DREAMers, began with the repeal of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA provided children a two-year deferred action from deportation, and provided eligibility for work permits, so long as they had no criminal record. I have continuously fought against the President’s action towards DREAMers. That is why I was proud to be an original cosponsor of, vote for, and help pass the American Dream and Promise Act. This legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, Temporary Protective Status recipients, and Deferred Enforced Departure holders.

In addition to his terrible treatment of DREAMers, the President has chosen to use cruelty as a deterrent to keep asylum seekers out. This is epitomized through his administration’s Child Separation Policy. This policy forcibly separated thousands of children from their parents and caged them in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Detention Centers. I have visited a facility in El Paso and seen the horrible conditions under which they are detained. To this day, we cannot obtain exact numbers regarding how many families have been separated. And it is horrific that seven children have died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The President and his Administration are examples of government chaos and failure.  I will not relent in the fight to ensure no additional families are separated, to prevent children from dying in custody, and to reunite children with their families.