Grieving Knoxville 'angel family' fights for wall on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- As Democrats and Republicans shout at one another over the border, one family hopes their son’s voice breaks through the noise. A grieving Knoxville, Tennessee family travels to DC calling on lawmakers to move forward with building the wall. Washington Correspondent Alana Austin catches up with the family on Capitol Hill.

“You don’t put a fence around your home because you hate your neighbors. You do it because you love what’s inside,” said D.J. Corcoran, whose son Pierce died just weeks ago in a car wreck caused by a suspected illegal immigrant.

D.J., his wife Wendy, and their daughter Avery Pressley traveled to Capitol Hill Wednesday, fighting to see a wall along the Southern border with Mexico. They believe it would stop other families from feeling their heartbreak.

“These are our children’s lives, and they mattered,” said D.J. Corcoran.

The family met with Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, GOP Congressman Tim Burchett, and other top White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway.

Corcoran says these leaders comforted the family, vowed to do all they can to move forward with strengthening the border, and Vice President even prayed with them at the White House over the loss of 22-year-old Pierce Corcoran.

D.J. Corcoran says he knows the suspect didn’t mean to hurt his son, and he blames the system that allowed this to happen.

“There’s not hate in our heart for this. I don’t hate the man that killed our son.”

While the President and many Republicans insist on more physical barriers at the border, liberal-leaning groups like the Center for American Progress (CAP) don’t think that would stop crime.

“At the end of the day basically, the wall is not the solution to the immigration challenges,” said Tom Jawetz, vice president of immigration policy at CAP.

Jawetz says what happened to the Corcorans is a tragedy, but he believes the root problem is Congressional inaction on immigration reform for the past several decades.

“What we know is that the people who are coming to our border today are overwhelmingly women and children who are fleeing horrific violence in central America, and who are requesting protection,” said Jawetz.

While the Corcorans’ fight for a tougher border, Republicans and Democrats can’t come to an agreement on these issues, and a partial federal government shutdown nears a month.

Senator Marsha Blackburn’s office released a statement after Wednesday’s meeting with the Corcorans. It says, “The Corcoran family is to be commended for their strength and fortitude following the death of Pierce. They deserve our most heartfelt condolences and solemn commitment to secure the border so that no more families will have to endure the tragic loss of a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant.”

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