On Tuesday Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat challenging Ted Cruz for his Senate seat, visited an immigration detention center, as Chron points out. At the facility, O’Rourke witnessed the separation of families under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
O’Rourke took to social media after his visit to speak to the public about what he witnessed at the detention center where children are separated from their families. He also visited a migrant processing center where children are kept after their parents have been taken. O’Rourke describes a mother and her 7-year-old daughter’s situation, saying, “Within the next, perhaps, 24 hours they were going to be separated and I don’t know that [the] mother and her child knew that at the time.” He goes on to explain the way the daughter held her mother’s hand as tightly as possible after traveling 2,000 miles from Honduras to America and eventually turning themselves into border control. “The mom was just desperate, she could not help but cry the entire time she was talking with us,” O’Rourke said. “She was anxious, she didn’t know what was next, she had just survived this many weeks’ journey.”
The mother and daughter will be separated due to the way Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy works. When a person is caught entering the country unlawfully, they are apprehended and if it is a family, they are broken up. The parents are sent to federal court to be charged with misdemeanors and the children are spread across the country in foster homes. Once the parents have been separated from the children, and before they go to foster homes, the children are kept in what O’Rourke describes as follows:
They were in essentially very large cages, pods, cyclone fences 10-feet high with netting on the top. Polished concrete floors, it’s just a gigantic warehouse where hundreds of kids and adults are kept divided by age, families no longer together.
According to a headcount done by Department of Health and Human Services in May, around 10,000 migrant children are currently in custody. O’Rourke did note that the facilities were clean and border agents were “doing their best.”
O’Rourke tweeted after his visit:
According to The Monitor, O’Rourke is ready to get into the Senate and start reforming the “zero-tolerance” policy. He stated, “We are better than this. I look forward to going back to Washington D.C. and working with my colleagues to make sure, whether it’s working with this administration or passing laws to meet this challenge, we stop separating families.”