Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Sunday attempted to visit the “tent city” where immigrant children separated from their parents are being held.
Rep Joe Kennedy III has vented his frustration after being denied entry to a “tent city” in Texas where children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border are being held. The Massachusetts Congressman and grandson of Senator Robert F. Kennedy visited the Tornillo port of entry in far West Texas on Sunday to draw attention to the tent-like shelter being used to house hundreds of minors taken from their parents after the family attempted to cross the border from Mexico.
Addressing the protest crowds in both English and Spanish, Kennedy spoke of his family’s own history of immigration to the US during the Irish famine, when the impoverished Irish flooded to America for a chance at a better life. He mentioned, in particular, how his great-grandmother Rose Kennedy would remind her children of the history of “No Irish Need Apply” signs.
Massachusetts @RepJoeKennedy says he tried to visit a tent city for children separated from their immigrant parents at the border Sunday, but was turned away. Hear more from Rep. Kennedy about his trip to Texas here: https://t.co/2MSo1lrezs pic.twitter.com/wByDknFjfc— WBZ NewsRadio (@wbznewsradio) June 18, 2018
“She told them to never forget what others endured so they could enjoy those extraordinary blessings they were able to have,” Kennedy said.
“It’s awfully hard for me as the beneficiary of a family that has been extraordinarily fortunate and to know a bit of their own story and the hardships they had to go through to not see those similarities with individuals who are searching for nothing more than a better life for their children.”
The congressman had attempted to visit the children on Sunday but was denied entry.
Your colleague Stephen Miller referred to this policy as “a simple decision.” You might want to let him know. https://t.co/GxyzG1QrmZ— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) June 17, 2018
“Given the confusion that exists within his own administration, I don't understand why they would not just open up the doors and allow members of Congress -- Democrats, Republicans -- in there to inspect these facilities and understand exactly what is going on,” Kennedy said, commenting on the statements by President Trump that the current separation practice is up to the Democrats to fix, despite the party not holding the government majority.
Trump’s statements also contradicted the claims of others within his own administration, who claimed that there is no policy of family separation.
“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period” tweeted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“If this isn’t the White House policy, please tell the officials who I spoke with in Tornillo today who believe it is. Either own it or change it. Scratch that - just change it. #KeepFamiliesTogether,” Kennedy fired back.
Crowds of people marched on a 'tent city' where the Trump administration is detaining undocumented children pic.twitter.com/gi8ZyvzE51— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 18, 2018
Through six weeks in April and May, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. As the children are not charged with a crime, US protocol calls for them to be separated from their families and detained separately.
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