At Border, Merkley Demands Answers on Cruel Child Separation Policy

MCALLEN, TX – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas, demanding answers from immigration officials about the Trump administration’s cruel new policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

“This cruel treatment of children and families arriving to the U.S. is completely un-American and unacceptable,” said Merkley. “Americans should be outraged by the fact that our taxpayer dollars are being used to inflict spiteful and traumatizing policies on innocent children. The Trump administration’s vicious, heartless family separation policy must be stopped. President Trump should end this policy immediately—and any Republican who claims to embrace ‘family values’ must step up to oppose this cruel anti-family agenda.”

On May 7, the Trump administration announced a new policy of separating children from their parents at the border and placing children in separate detention facilities rather than in family facilities where children are able to stay with their parents. This cruel new policy was met with shock and outrage from around the country. According to news reports, more than 600 immigrant children have already been separated from their families since the implementation of this policy.

Demanding answers on behalf of these children, Merkley today visited CBP’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.

Merkley was accompanied on his trip by local American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) officials. Merkley also spoke with local community members and asylum seekers at the Sacred Heart Church Respite Center in McAllen, who put into stark relief the cruelty of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Many of these asylum seekers survived harrowing journeys, fleeing violence and instability, with the goal of starting over in the United States.

Video of Merkley being refused entry to the Brownsville Unaccompanied Minors Shelter can be found here.