U.S. Senators visit temporary shelter in Tornillo where undocumented children are housed
A group of U.S. senators visited the temporary shelter for undocumented children at the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry in Tornillo on Friday.
Democratic Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut were not allowed to tour the facility. The senators said they said they were only shown videos of what the facility looked like.
The senators said they want to hold the Trump administration accountable for the children who were separated from their families.
The senators learned that 250 boys were being kept at the tents in Tornillo.
"We actually asked if, 'this is an all-male facility. Do you have female facilities?'" Heinrich said.
"We were given none of those answers."
“We were not given access,” Blumenthal said.
The senators also made other stops at the El Paso Border Patrol station and the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry during their tour.
They were given a first-hand look at how the asylum process worked at the Paso Del Norte bridge.
“This doesn’t happen very often. But it’s happening now. In a dramatic way. So their job is to process them and get as much information as they can and then move them onto the next place,” Sen. Tom Udall, (D) New Mexico said. “And it’s just kind of surprising to see very very young kids on their own completely on their own.”
Heinrich and Udall also had the chance to speak with some of the families at the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry.
"We met a little girl, you know, who is with her father. Maybe she was two?" Heinrich said.
"That's somebody who should not be separated from their father during an asylum claim. That's not moral."
The senators will be holding a Keeping Families Together event in Las Cruces later Friday night.
Once their trip is over, Udall said it's time to go back to Washington D.C. and get back to work.
"What I return with is a renewed energy that they get a policy in place and they get this done," Udall said.