What’s happening to immigrant children behind the federal government’s closed doors?
Most Americans don’t know, and neither, apparently, does Congress.
In a Facebook Live video that had one million views by noon on Monday, June 4, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley showed up at a facility at a former Walmart in Texas. According to a press release, the senator visited Customs and Border Protection’s “McAllen Border Station, one of the facilities where families are being separated as they enter the U.S. He also attempted to visit the Brownsville Unaccompanied Minors Shelter to see firsthand how children who have been separated from their families are being treated, but he was refused entry.” He told the media filming the event, “I think it’s unacceptable that a member of Congress is not being admitted to see what’s happening to children whose families are applying for asylum.”
In the post accompanying the video, Merkley writes, of the Brownsville Unaccompanied Minors Shelter: “I am told that this former Walmart may currently be housing hundreds of refugee children who have been separated from their parents.”
Merkley had requested to be allowed to enter the facility and when he arrived and still could not get in, he asked to speak to a supervisor. The video proceeds in Merkley’s signature mix of mild manners and fiery statements.
Merkley staged the event as part of “demanding answers from immigration officials about the Trump administration’s cruel new policy of separating children from their parents at the border.”
However, as the supervisor came to the door, saying he could not make a statement, the police also rolled up. Merkley announced. “I have not been asked to leave the property but I believe that’s what is about to happen.”
When the supervisor asked Merkley to leave, he shook the man’s hand. Throughout his interactions with the media, the employees and the police, the senator repeated again and again his concerns about the Trump Administation’s “cruel family separation policy.”