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Members of Congress Return From Visit to Detention Center, Border Patrol Processing Center & Port of Entry in Texas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the weekend, eight members of Congress returned from a trip to the Texas border. On their visit the members observed court proceedings of those who crossed the border, and visited the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, the Port Isabel Detention Center and the Brownsville Port of Entry.

“I witnessed the full consequences of President Trump’s zero-humanity, zero-tolerance policy at the border and it was absolutely horrifying. In the courtrooms, we saw mass prosecutions of over 70 people at once. This assembly-line justice has no place in our democracy and must end immediately. And make no mistake – family separation is still occurring and young children are still being held in cages,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform. “We heard from mothers who told us they were only allowed to see their kids for only an hour each day. These conditions are nothing to brag about—this is government-sanctioned child abuse and it must stop now. Congress needs to act immediately and bring forward an immigration solution that’s reflective of who we are as a country. This crisis, which will go down as a stain on our nation’s history, is far from over.”

“The horrors we saw and heard in Texas are seared into my memory, and reaffirm my resolve to fight for immigration reforms that protect the dignity and humanity of every child, woman, and man in this country,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.  “We met immigrant mothers who described the heartbreak and terror they felt at being torn from their children without warning, and without any knowledge of where their children were taken.  We heard from children who were told by DHS officials that their parents had abandoned them, and parents who were told they’d never see their children again.   Our trip to the Texas border confirmed the heartbreaking reports we’ve heard of the impact of President Trump’s zero-humanity immigration policies.”

“Before our trip, we had been told that families were not being separated at our border anymore. We now know that to be a lie. We met grandmothers and grandfathers who had been separated from their grandchildren because they weren’t considered family. We also saw hundreds of immigrants locked in cages, including children and some women well into their pregnancies,”said Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37). “We spoke with parents who were tricked into leaving their children while they appeared in court and kids who were told that their parents had abandoned them forever after their parents never came back. It is a real fear of mine that some of the children we met will never see their families ever again. As far as I’m concerned, this is government-sponsored child abuse that must be stopped.”

“I watched tearfully as children were finally reunited with their parents after they had been cruelly ripped apart by President Trump’s senseless family separation policy. While these reunifications were joyous in many ways, it only served to underscore how truly heartless the President’s policy has been and continues to be. The American people should not be fooled — families continue to be separated,” said Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26). “What is most shocking of all is that all this trauma was purposefully caused by one man’s decision to use children as hostages in order to force Congress to advance his extreme immigration policies. These are not the values upon which our country was founded. President Trump has already failed to meet the court-ordered deadline to reunite children with their families, and what I saw in Texas suggests we are still far from resolving this stain on American history. Congress must address this humanitarian crisis and move forward with an immigration policy that actually reflects our values as a nation. The very soul of America depends on it.”

“After visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, I am filled with sadness, despair, and anger that the Trump Administration has created a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude on American soil,” said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11). “This crisis, created by President Trump and Republican Leaders in Congress, is politically motivated and manufactured to divide Americans. If every American could witness what we experienced and hear the cries of sobbing mothers, fathers, and grandparents broken by what our government has done, people would understand firsthand the cruelty of this Administration’s policies.”
“While on my visit—my second to the area—I witnessed the reunification of four children with their parents at a detention center in Los Fresnos, Texas, separated at the southern border. Among our congressional delegation, there was not a dry eye in the house, and serves to remind that this was a wrongheaded and inhumane policy,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18).This continued crisis requires extensive and full investigations and oversight by the Congress! How can this administration get it so wrong?!”

“On this trip, we witnessed the horrors of the Trump Administration’s family separation and refugee detention policies firsthand,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09). “We heard from separated children who were told their parents had abandoned them and parents who were deceived while their children were taken from them. We met a weeping grandmother whose grandchild was torn away because they are not considered “family” under this Administration’s narrow and cruel policies. The harrowing accounts we heard make it clear: These policies constitute child abuse and kidnapping, and the Trump Administration is still ripping families apart. Somebody needs to go to jail over this.”

“What we saw on our tour of the border was nothing short of a humanitarian crisis in our own backyard,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07). “This was a chance for lawmakers to see firsthand how President Trump is treating immigrant families seeking shelter. The United States is a country of immigrants with a proud legacy of protecting families fleeing violence and persecution. By tearing children from their parents and by placing them in long-term detention, President Trump has failed that legacy. As a country, we have to do better.”