TORNILLO, TX (NBC News) — The US Border Patrol allowed two Senators and six members of Congress to visit holding facilities at the southern US border Sunday.
Oregon senator Jeff Merkley led a group of Democratic lawmakers to the Texas-Mexico border on Sunday.
Merkley first visited Texas to look into the family separation policy on June 3, but he was denied entry to a detention facility in Brownsville where children are reportedly being kept.
On Sunday, Merkley and other lawmakers were allowed entry into the Brownsville facility and other sites in the area related to the “Zero Tolerance” policy.
Merkley spoke about the policy and how parents and children are being separated.
“Those kids inside who have been separated from their parents are already being traumatized and it doesn’t matter whether the floor is swept and the bed sheets tucked in tight, what matters is the kids have been separated unnecessarily from their parents as they await an asylum hearing,” he said.
“There is no way that family separation policy is good for anyone. The administration says they want to do this as to send a message to families overseas about how you’ll be treated if you come to the United States of America.
“Well, we used to have a message about how you’ll be treated, it was called Lady Liberty, who held up a torch, who said ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ but now there is a new message from the Trump administration. And that new message is ‘if you come here fleeing persecution, we will greet you on our shore, we will handcuff you, we will treat you as a criminal, we will take away your children and you will never know when you might possibly see them again.’ This is absolutely un-American and wrong, we must end this policy of family separation.”