Sixteen different states have filed a lawsuit to stop President Donald Trump from using emergency powers to build a wall at the Mexico border. However, an Albany teacher says there's a bigger crisis at the border: the detainment of immigrant children.
While it fades from the headlines, thousands of children still sit in separation.
"They haven't been keeping track of who these kids are and who they belong to. We don't know where these kids are ending up," said Zeo Tavarez-Polanco.
Tavarez-Polanco teaches fifth grade dual language at the Delaware Community School in Albany. She traveled nearly 2,500 miles to the border in El Paso, Texas, this weekend to join other teachers in protest. She says people don't understand asylum.
Tavarez-Polanco is a first-generation American. Her mother battled the same system more than 40 years ago
"Everyone else came escaping something, and they were able to go Ellis Island and make a future for themselves," Tavarez-Polanco said. "Their children and their great-grandchildren have all benefited from that opportunity, and yet we're telling other people 'don't do as I did.' "
She says those kids currently in camps can end up in her classroom. It's a problem she believes is driven by fear. Instead, there needs to be a focus on education instead of deportation.
"We've now locked these kids up as if they committed murder, and they haven't," she said. "They're guilty of being born in another country and their parents wanting better for them. That's shameful."
Tavarez-Polanco says this isn't a problem that can be stopped by just the president. She says Congress can also make a change.
She hopes with the national emergency now in the headlines, it will eventually bring an end to the separation of families.