Over the weekend, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon attempted to inspect for himself an Office of Refugee Resettlement-run detention facility for child refugees, but was denied entry.
Merkley explained why he had gone to visit the facility, a former Walmart:
“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,” he said.
On Monday, the White House issued a statement denouncing Merkley for trying to see what the conditions for refugee children are like. The White House said that “Senator Merkley is irresponsibly spreading blatant lies about routine immigration enforcement while smearing hard-working, dedicated law enforcement officials at ICE and CBP.”
The press statement attempted to smear Merkley with a broad array of unfounded charges saying that, “No one is taking a public safety lecture from Sen. Merkley, whose own policies endanger children, empower human smugglers and drug cartels, and allow violent criminal aliens to flood into American communities.”
On Tuesday, Merkley was attacked on Twitter by the president himself. In between tirades from Trump denouncing the Philadelphia Eagles and praising bakers who don’t make wedding cakes for gay people, the president tweeted, “Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.”
As has been fully reported already, there is no “Democrat law” requiring that immigrant children be taken from their parents when they enter the United States.
Trump’s immigration team is pursuing some of the harshest anti-immigrant policies in history. Sometimes Trump crows about them, other times he claims they were put in place by the political opposition, although he never can cite the laws he claims to be following.