But the bruising debate and its rancorous aftermath have made her job much more difficult. She must counter what she sees as ever-more distorted misconceptions about the border from the right while beating back angrier calls from the left to strip all funding from immigration enforcement agencies.
“It’s also on my side of the aisle, the danger of using blanket stereotypes and generalizations for all people inside agencies when Trump is the president,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say all Border Patrol agents are bad, and if there’s any good ones left, they should quit.”
“It kills me,” she added, “because I talk to the good ones.”
Ms. Escobar’s passion has earned her some bipartisan respect, particularly late last month, after she led an emotional moment of silence on the House floor for the tens of thousands of migrants who have died trying to seek asylum in the United States. (Republicans are quick to point out, however, that they disagree with her liberal policies.)
“In Spanish, the term is called confianza,” said Representative Raul Ruiz, Democrat of California, who presented his legislation about improving migrant health care to Ms. Pelosi alongside Ms. Escobar. “It’s like she’s in the family — somebody trustworthy, somebody you can feel comfortable around.”
Members also rallied around her last week after a visit to the Clint detention facility, where she sparred with Homeland Security officials over derogatory posts about her in a Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents, then faced a handful of angry conservative protesters during a news conference.
As antagonists heckled “One-Term Veronica” and taunted Ms. Escobar for appearing to support migrant children more than El Paso’s children, Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, yelled across the podium that “Veronica Escobar is the best goddamn congresswoman” to emphatic nods from her colleagues.
As the group of lawmakers drove away, the screams of the protesters fading behind them, Ms. Escobar could be seen through a van window, pressing her hands together in prayer and thanking the agents escorting them.