On Wednesday, Senator of Oregon Jeff Merkley described a border detention camp he’d seen.
“What you have is cyclone fencing and fence posts that look like cages,” he said to Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day.”
“They look like the way you would construct a dog kennel.”
In the past, Merkley has drawn similar comparisons, and he was talking about a Texas migrant processing center he had visited.
A response the Department of Justice hit made denied the comparison, claiming they don’t trap people in cages.
“These short-term facilities do not employ the use of ‘cages’ to house unaccompanied minors, but portions of the facility make use of barriers in order to separate minors of different genders and age groups,” stated the department.
On CNN, Merkley responded by explaining the phrase “dog cages” shook the department.
“Well, it’s just a matter of them not being comfortable with that term to describe it. They’re big boxes made out of wire and fence posts. Call them whatever you want,” the Oregon senator reasoned.
Merkley made his remarks only days after a Brownsville, Texas immigration detention facility denied him entry on Sunday.
“I was barred entry. I asked repeatedly to speak to a supervisor—he finally came out and said he can’t tell us anything. Police were called on us,” Merkley tweeted.
According to The Hill, an Administration for Children and Families representative said they barred Merkley entry to protect safety and security.
“United States Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D), along with five other individuals, attempted to enter an unaccompanied alien children’s (UAC) shelter unannounced and broadcast live via social media last night in Texas. Thankfully for the safety, security, and dignity of the children being cared for there, they were denied access. The Department of Health and Human Services takes the legal mandate to care for these children seriously. No one who arrives unannounced at one of our shelters demanding access to the children in our care will be permitted, even those claiming to be U.S. Senators,” the spokesperson stated.
“Senator Merkley should respect the UAC program and engage in the appropriate processes, as many of his colleagues have done before him, to visit ORR facilities. We would welcome him to engage in that process so that he may visit the facility to make headway on this important issue, rather than just headlines.”
Merkley made his visit to bring attention to the Trump administration’s policy which criminally charges adults trying to illegally cross the border. While waiting for their charges to process under the policy, parents are ripped away from their kids.
Trump’s administration has claimed the policy will stop people from illegally crossing borders, but Democrats have pointed out how inhumane it is.
Donald Trump has responded by blaming the policy on Democrats, saying they need to get their act together about the issue.
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018