Where are our leaders when it is time to defend the rights of the most vulnerable? Every day, white supremacists are working in the White House, creating a national emergency for migrant families, and we all know the consequences: thousands of immigrant parents and children are in detention, separated or blocked — in grave danger — on the other side of the border.

Families are coming here because their governments are not only failing to protect them, but many times, the authorities are the abusers. Children suffer the consequences of the trauma for the rest of their lives.

Instead of giving them a hearing to apply for asylum and the opportunity of living in security in the land of freedom, democracy and justice, we send the families back to horror.

Everybody who steps on the soil of the United States has rights, but immigration officers, functionaries of the United States Government, violate not only the civil rights of legal asylum seekers, but their human rights. Some have lost their lives.

It doesn’t matter what the asylum laws say, the only voices the president hears are voices of his supremacist advisors and the cries of the anti-immigrant rage that have defied laws, decades of asylum tradition, long-standing foreign relations, Constitutional doctrines and the voices of Congress itself.

Yet, there is a timid response from elected officials who agree these policies are wrong.

They are concerned that taking a strong stand about immigration could jeopardize their reelection due to the active, orchestrated campaign to misinform the voters.

The Democratic presidential contenders in the debates are launching proposals around everything from global warming, to the student loan burden, etc. but few times are dedicating to recommendations on how to solve what is happening in the southern border or the immigration laws reform.

During the last Democratic debate in Iowa, immigration was absent, giving the issue to Donald Trump’s administration: the president who is already putting in place reforms based on immigrant skills, nationalities, race; and allowing fewer people, disregarding the humanitarian crisis created by his policies and past administrations inactions.

The Democratic presidential candidates criticize Trump’s policies on immigration and criticizing how he demonizes immigration, but immigration reform is not one of their battle horses of the campaign. They are not talking about the urgent need of thousands of families separated by the arbitrary actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

I am not very hopeful to see our broken immigration system fixed unless we, the voters, make our elected officials accountable on election day and every day. Vote, call, write and speak up. You do not need to be a great writer. Do not let your accent or the lack of public speaking skills keep you from it. Keep doing what you do to protect the most vulnerable people.

Alejandro Urrutia of Hudson immigrated from Mexico with his family. He serves on the N.H. Advisory Board to the Federal Civil Rights Commission and the Granite State Organizing Project.