Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who claims he set off a national firestorm by shedding light on the child separation policy and what he called “other human rights abuses” being committed along the southern border, released a statement after a virtual meeting with Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Biden’s nominee to lead as the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Merkley said “America has long taken pride in being a beacon of hope for persecuted men, women, and children from around the world – a place of opportunity and freedom, where honest work paves the way toward a better life”. Merkley said that is why Americans were appalled by the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants along the southern border.

Merkley said “It’s long past time for major changes at the Department of Homeland Security to restore human rights and decency on our soil”.

Merkley said he looks forward to continuing to work with Mayorkas throughout the upcoming confirmation process.

The release said Merkley exposed the Trump administration’s child separation policy in June of 2018, when police were called to prevent him from investigating a huge child detention center in Brownsville, Texas.