Oregon senators inspect, tour several detention centers along the southern border

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A group of senate democrats made a trip to McAllen, Texas on Friday to inspect and tour several detention centers along the southern border.

This group of senators included Oregon’s two democrats: Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

Just a few days ago Merkley introduced new legislation, called the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act.

It’s co-sponsored by 40 senate democrats including Ron Wyden.

They said it would end family separations, set minimum health and safety standards for kids and families, and require access to showers and meals, among other things.

On Friday’s trip, the delegation visited several “Border Patrol” holding and processing centers.

While they didn’t give specifics, they said the conditions they saw inside are inhumane and heartbreaking.

They said according to border patrol’s own statistics, only two to three percent of the people held at these facilities are criminals and most of them are seeking asylum trying to escape violence in their home countries.

“When people come to our borders, we understand they’re fleeing difficult circumstances, they’re fleeing persecution, they’re fleeing famine, and in the time they’re proceeding to their asylum hearing we want them treated with dignity and respect,” Merkley said.

“To me, what we see continues to illustrate the evidence that the zero-tolerance policy makes zero sense,” Wyden said.

There were 13 senators on the trip who are all involved in committees relating to this issue in one way or another.

They said President Trump is manufacturing a humanitarian crisis with his current immigration and detention policies.

They said they will go back to Washington to advocate for changes that lead to people being treated with dignity and respect.