Sen. Merkley Says Immigrants Are Kept in Cages that Looked 'Like Dog Kennels'
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) drew attention to the plight of recently arrived immigrants under President Donald Trump's administration over the weekend when he posted video of himself being denied access to one of the facilities where unaccompanied immigrant children are housed. But on Monday night, he spoke with MSNBC's Chris Hayes and described the condition of many of the immigrants at a processing center he did get to see — and his description was deeply disturbing.
"The first room had a series of cages that look a lot like dog kennels, which people had recently arrived — they had been put into them," he said. "They were very crowded. The individuals had space blankets, so you had all these silver space blankets, no mattresses, and people looking very distressed and upset. A number of women holding children in their arms."
He continued: "And then adjacent to that is a very, very large warehouse, with much larger cages, and in those, the children have already been separated from the parents."
He described one child he saw in this warehouse as four or five years old. And while some of these children likely arrived on their own, some came with families and then were separated from their parents by border agents, even though they were seeking asylum — a form of legal immigration.
Merkley's description of the dehumanizing treatment these immigrants are being put through perhaps shouldn't be a surprise, given Trump's willingness to use dehumanizing rhetoric to discuss immigration.
Hayes explained on Twitter: "And to be clear: the cages themselves predate the Trump admin. The systematic child separation policy, however, is new."
Watch the interview below: