Senator Harris ‘Heartbroken’ After Immigration Detention Center Visit
Friday, June 22, 2018
Photo by Katie Schoolov
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.
"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.
"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.
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.