When Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) attempted to visit an immigration detention center in Texas, he was met outside by the facility’s supervisor and police – but he was barred from entering the building.
Merkley streamed the attempt live on Facebook.
"I’m going to try to enter a facility in Brownsville, TX run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. I am told that this former Walmart may currently be housing hundreds of refugee children who have been separated from their parents," Merkley said in a Facebook post.
Merkley posted a video of his attempt to enter the facility, where he is seen asking for a tour of the facility that he said his team set up last week.
Met by the supervisor and police, Merkley explained why he was there:
"The reason why I came is this new policy that the attorney general has in place of families that are waiting for the adjudication of their application for asylum in the U.S., and the children are being separated," Merkley said.
"We should be told ahead of time if anybody is going to come and visit us," an official with the facility is heard saying in the video. "Like I said, I'm not going to give a statement right now."
Without having gained access to the facility, Merkley was asked to leave the premises.
"So we'll be clear. The conversation that was indicated is going to be very short. That the individual can't make a statement, and so, therefore, I haven't been asked to leave the property, but I'm guessing that's what is about to happen," Merkley said.
"Yeah, sir, I think that's what they're going towards," an officer said before taking down Merkley's information.