You’ve likely already read about the monstrous cruelty of immigrants being separated from their children when they cross the U.S. border illegally—more than 600, at this point—and how the situation can persist for months with nothing but the odd phone call between parent and child. The system was put in place by the Trump administration as a deterrent.
A California court is considering a lawsuit by the ACLU aimed at halting the practice, but in the meantime, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, paid a visit to a detention facility in Brownsville, TX, in an effort to understand the situation on the ground.
The facility, run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, refused Merkley’s written request to visit—his standing as a member of Congress apparently made no difference—so Merkley decided to visit in person. He had just visited the center where the separation of children and parents first occurs, and he had information that hundreds of children were being kept inside the Brownsville facility. You can watch the entire video at the Facebook link below:
I’m at an immigration detention center where children who have been separated from their families are being held. Trying to get inside to get answers. Follow live >>> https://t.co/CXDjYAFIcB#FamiliesBelongTogether#KeepFamiliesTogether— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) June 4, 2018
Merkley was denied entry, and a supervisor refused to give a statement. Instead, the police were called, and the most the supervisor would do was repeatedly give him a phone number to call. Then Merkley was asked to leave.
We now know beyond doubt that there are facilities where immigrant children are detained in the U.S. that are beyond the oversight of even U.S. Senators. Meanwhile, here is the Trump administration’s response, via Jeff Sessions last month:
“If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
And last week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen doubled down:
“We will refer 100 percent of illegal Southwest border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution.”