What Senator Jeff Merkley Saw at an Immigrant Detention Center for Children

But here’s the thing—as soon as they take the kids away from their parents, they call them “unaccompanied minors” too!

.. We do know that during a 12-day period in May 658 kids were separated from their families. We know that the number of immigrant children detained without parents went up 21 percent from May to June.

.. Another question is: Where do the kids end up, and can the parents reach them? They told me, “Oh yes, they get an A code,” and I asked, “Well, what’s an A code,” and it turns out it’s an “alien code,” a number where they can be tracked through the system. So it’s really not a difficulty for parents to find their children, they said. But the children are actually in one agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the parents are in another agency, the Department of Homeland Security. And according to immigration advocates I spoke with, they’re saying it’s actually not easy to track down the kids. The younger kids may be in a foster family, where the foster family doesn’t speak Spanish.

.. saying they have a “policy” of not allowing visits…. Yeah, I know, I guess I should have said they have a “strategy.”

But they say they will accommodate members of Congress with two weeks’ notice?

.. Yes, they told me I could apply, and I might be able to get in within two weeks. I might be. But if members of Congress can’t be assured they’ll be allowed in, then it’s a de facto policy [not to let them in].

..  Also: In two weeks, they can clean it up and make it all happy-face. I want to see how it’s operating on a day-to-day basis. And look, we all have top-secret clearances. I don’t know why we can’t go there and have them take us around, and say to us, “Here is who we have in here.” And then we can ask: “Do you have the resources that you need? To treat kids with trauma and anxiety?” And we can also ask: “Let us see the kids you’ve taken from their parents. Let us see how they are.”