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Dem Senator Barred from Entering an Immigration Detention Center!

Last Friday, the Democratic Senator of Oregon, Sen. Jeff Merkley shared a disturbing Facebook video last Sunday showing how the officers denied him entry to an immigration detention center in Texas. Furthermore, the video also showed how the police called on him.

The Visit

Merkley traveled all the way to Texas to visit the facility called Casa Padre in Brownsville, to criticize one of Trump’s immigration policies that resulted in more undocumented innocent immigrant children ending up separated from their parents.

Just last month, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would increase their campaign and prosecutions of those families who crossed the U.S. border illegally, going as far as separating their children from their parents during the process. This prompted Merkley to attempt visiting the facility after his staff set up a meeting last week.

Based on the video, Merkley was seen walking to the building, which he claimed was a former Walmart, with locked doors and blacked-out windows.

When Merkley tried going in, the officials stopped and told him he couldn’t come in. Merkley insisted on talking with their supervisor. When he finally came out, however, the supervisor told the Senator he couldn’t give him an official statement about the policies they implemented. Instead, he just referred him to an outside phone number. Not a minute later, the police arrived to escort him.

Family Separation

Merkley then told the police officers that the reason why he came was to see the hundreds of refugee children the facility hosts while their parents and families were waiting for the verdict of their asylum application to the U.S. Before Merkley’s attempt, he noted how no other members of the Congress had tried to visit the facility, and that they don’t know the current state of well-being of these children. Furthermore, the Senator reiterated that children should never be ripped from or separated from their families.

The Democratic Party also sent a letter to Sessions and have called on the Department of Justice to end the said prosecution. Meanwhile, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of Homeland Security also urged them to end such a practice, stating how the family separation is antithetical to the American values. According to her, it’s also a violation of basic humanity and decency.

The Defense

Sessions, on the other hand, explained why the agency was separating the children from their parents. He claimed that most of these kids were smuggled as they crossed the border illegally. As stated in the law, the enforcement must separate the children to prevent further smuggling. If these families don’t like to get separated with their offsprings, they should not smuggle these children over the border.

Senator Merkley called on President Trump on Twitter to change the policy. He claimed he was the only one who has the power to end the inflicted cruelty on children and as well as prevent the asylum seekers from finding refuge in the country.

While Sessions has repeatedly defended the agency’s new immigration policy, claiming how it could help decrease the rate of illegal border crossings in the United States, the Democrats have slammed these changes. While President Trump blamed the opposition party for these family separations, his own Administration was the one that initiated the said move.

Tyler Q. Houlton, the DHS Press Secretary, released a statement last Monday regarding the issue. While he appreciates the Senator’s concern and genuine interest on the subject, he reiterated that the DHS only follows the laws passed by the Congress. He, instead, encouraged the Senator to cooperate with the administration to determine the loopholes of the said policy and fix it to prevent illegal immigration, while protecting the children from the risk of smugglers and human traffickers.

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