There are stories that followed me home from my time at the border last week.

An elderly woman from Honduras at the migrant shelter in Ciudad Juarez with her daughter and grandchildren, her eyes warm and hungry for connection. She’s been there a while and her future is uncertain. What is her story?

The man who swam through sewage and both broke of his feet in a fall off of the border wall, whose first instinct after being deported was to reach out to the men who called an ambulance for him in El Paso, and invite them to his home.

The Venezuelans who trekked through miles of deadly rain forest to reach a border that’s closed to them and offers no options for safety.

Artwork from a high school student in Ciudad Juarez

We fight for immigration reform, and I keep hoping that it will happen someday. But if and when that day comes, it will be too late for these individuals. I understand that we can’t save everyone, but sometimes I fear that in our hurry to justify our lack of action, we forget the humanity of everyone involved. We MUST remember that these are human beings: each with their own story, their own fears, their own dreams.

Our laws and policies are complicated – immigration law is one of the most confusing and complicated law codes in our nation that befuddles even attorneys and policy makers. We may say that people should “come the right way,” but do we even know that right way, or if it even exists? Do you know?

How are these people, desperate and searching and afraid, to proceed?

No, not everyone will qualify for asylum, but there is so much ambiguity and discretion in our immigration courts that many are willing to take great risks to try. They may not know the limitations or the best way to make a case, but they are just trying to survive, to make a life for their families.

Most people in our country agree that immigration reform is desperately needed, but in DC we continue to see grandstanding and party division instead of political courage to reach across the aisle and find solutions that help our nation AND those seeking a better life here.

We forget the most important thing. As a retired Border Patrol chief told us, “You have to do the right thing. We’re talking about people here.”