Senator Elizabeth Warren shared her experiences about touring an immigration center in McAllen, Texas on Sunday, and she says it is a “disturbing picture”.
“It’s a disturbing picture. There are children by themselves. I saw a six-month-old baby, little girls, little boys,” Warren told reporters outside the facility. “There are mothers with their babies, with small children. Family units are together if it’s a very small child, but little girls who are 12 years old are taken away from the rest of their families and held separately. Or little boys. They’re all lying on concrete floors in cages. There’s just no other way to describe it.”
Today, I’m in McAllen, TX. What I’ve witnessed here is truly disturbing. People are being held in cages – there’s no other way to describe it. There are children by themselves. Mothers with young babies. They have nothing but the clothes on their backs pic.twitter.com/1VuVdLa42T
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 24, 2018
During the administrations crackdown on undocumented immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, over 2,300 children have been separated from their families in a six week period. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy faced fierce uproar over families being torn apart as parents awaited criminal trial. Following the strong criticism, Trump pushed through an executive order just last week that would house families together rather than apart.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Warren says her visit to the McAllen Customs and Border Protection processing center confirms her worst fears about the reality of reuniting families after being separated.
“The children told us that they had come to the United States with family and didn’t know where they had been taken. Eleven years old. Twelve. Locked in a cage with strangers. Many hadn’t talked to their mothers or fathers. They didn’t know where they were or what would happen to them next.
I went down to the border protection processing center in McAllen, Texas so I could see what’s happening there with my own eyes. They wouldn’t let cameras inside, but I can tell you what I saw: pic.twitter.com/JDqgTw4Z2J
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 27, 2018
She also pointed out how the children had nothing with them. “No books, no toys, no games,” she wrote. “They looked shell shocked.”
The administration’s definitions of “separated” and “reunited” only adds more confusion and chaos to a crisis that has already affected thousands of migrant families, according to Warren Their definition reunification only reaches to parents and their children, disregarding anyone who crosses the border with a sister, a brother, a aunt, or a uncle.
Also, Warren indicates that the administration doesn’t consider a family “separated” if the families are held in the same facility but in separate cages without any contact with one another. On the other hand, a family member is considered “reunified” if a child is sent to live with a relative they’ve never met.
“Some relatives may be unwilling to claim these children because it would be inviting ICE to investigate their own families,” Warren wrote.
Warren later visited a South Texas facility to speak with a group of women. She described the facility as a “jail,” even though the facility is touted as a “reunification center” by authorities.
“The women I met were traumatized, weeping, and begging for help. They don’t understand what is happening to them – and they’re begging to be reunited with their kids,” Warren wrote.