Senator Harris 'Heartbroken' After Immigration Detention Center Visit
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris toured the Otay Mesa Immigration and Detention Facility on Friday, visiting migrant mothers who were separated from their children in what the California Democrat called "a crime against humanity being committed by the U.S. government."
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday intended to end family separation at the border, but it doesn't include any recourse for the several thousand families who were already affected by the policy over the past several months.
Harris said after Friday's tour that Honduran and Salvadoran women inside the Otay Mesa facility were in "complete and utter despair" about being held without their children in what Harris called a "typical prison setting."
An outspoken critic of the Trump administration, she called for immediate reunification of separated families.
A few moments ago I finished visiting with mothers who were separated from their children at the border. I can tell you they are in utter despair. The stories they shared with me paint a picture of human rights abuses being committed by our government. We are so much better this. pic.twitter.com/lEeIOtEjWU— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 22, 2018
"Here's the bottom line as far as I'm concerned: This fight, for us, is about love of country," Harris said. "I'm not letting anyone take away our flag. This is our flag. This is about patriotism. This is a fight born out of knowing who we are and fighting for the ideals of our country — and that is what we are going to continue to do."
Several hundred protesters attended a rally outside the detention center, as did representatives from the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, along with other immigrant rights groups. People raised signs saying "Abolish ICE" and "Stop Child Concentration Camps," among other things.
The event kicks off a weekend of regional demonstrations.
Harris, a member of the Judiciary Committee and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has also called for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who in recent weeks has become the face of Trump administration immigrant detention policies.
I’m calling on Kirstjen Nielsen to resign as Secretary of Homeland Security. Under her watch, our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable to and transparent with the American people.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 18, 2018
"Under her watch, our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable to and transparent with the American people," Harris tweeted Monday.