WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after legal advocates revealed that dozens of children are illegally being detained indefinitely at a family internment camp in Dilley, TX:
“The fact that these children are being held for months on end in an internment camp is outrageous and unconscionable. We know that even a short time spent in detention settings can bring about lifelong trauma. Children belong in homes, parks, and neighborhoods, not locked up in internment camps.
“These children’s detention would be horrific at the best of times, but it is all the more disturbing and unacceptable at a time when our nation faces its worst pandemic in decades. I have been to Dilley and seen the conditions myself. There is no way for families to maintain proper social distancing while living in crowded bunks. A facility like Dilley is an outbreak waiting to happen, and it is irresponsible and dangerous not to move as many children as possible out of these facilities as quickly as possible.
"El Flores settlement requires DHS to make prompt and continuous efforts to release children as soon as possible, and never to detain them for more than 20 days. As a result, the administration’s actions here are both immoral and illegal. I strongly urge DHS to free these children immediately, and I am calling on the DHS Inspector General to investigate these flagrant abuses.”
En junio de 2018, Merkley desató una tormenta nacional cuando fue a la frontera para exponer la política de separación de niños de la administración y fue rechazado en un centro de detención infantil en Brownsville, TX. Merkley ha seguido siendo un firme defensor de las familias y los niños que huyen de la persecución en el extranjero. En diciembre de 2018, Merkley led a congressional delegation to investigate the conditions at Dilley and two other detention facilities in Texas. He is also the author of the Ley de no campos de internamiento, legislation that would shut down Dilley and other family internment centers in the United States; the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act; y un escrito de amicus curiae del Congreso instando a los tribunales a defender la Flores settlement in the face of Trump administration efforts to gut it.