SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson returned from a visit to the nation’s southern border and shared a bit of her experience.
Wilson was one of 18 county leaders from across the country to participate in the southwest border tour hosted by the National Association of Counties.
“I saw things that will impact me for years to come,” said Wilson during a media briefing following her return to Utah. “It’s given me a much better lens to articulate the challenge in a real way.”
Wilson and her colleagues saw firsthand the condition in the border facilities and the situation at the port of entry. She described the 24-hour experience as “rewarding” and “well worth it.”
During a presentation Thursday, Wilson fought back tears as she described a situation with a Latino boy who she guessed was either 13 or 14 years old.
While on a tour of the customs area, the boy who was alone approached officials with a Colorado birth certificate, she said.
“I don’t know his story. Never will. Was that a doctored birth certificate? Was he returning to a family? I don’t know if that little boy right now has been moved to the children only center—the place that Health and Human Services runs that we’ve seen so much about—you know the quote, unquote cages… if that little boy they let him through and off he went and he met with parents. I have no idea what happened to that little boy, but it seemed odd to me. A Latino child. Very young. No family with him without a passport,” recounted Wilson. “That was just one of the hundreds of individual cases that I witnessed over the course of my 24 hours on the ground there.“
Wilson said during the visit she also witnessed the apprehension of a family trying to cross the border outside the port of entry.
“I think I’m going to have a little bit of trauma from this for some time.”
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