Jeff Merkley: Child separation is still happening

July 22, 2019 GMT

Sen. Jeff Merkley said Monday the number of immigrants trying to cross over the U.S.-Mexico border has slowed as a result of stepped-up enforcement by Mexico and the summer heat.

Mr. Merkley, Oregon Democrat, recently traveled to the border with Senate Minority Leader Charles S. Schumer and said children are still getting separated from their parents.

“What we see is a continuation of policies that are very, well, punitive against migrants designed to discourage people from immigrating to the U.S.” he said on CNN. “This use of this strategy of deliberating inflicting harm on children and adults. This is not what America is about.”

“The is not the way we would want any of our family members to be treated should they arrive on the border,” Mr. Merkley said.

Asked about reports of border patrol agents being injured by migrants trying to rush the border, Mr. Merkley said the Trump administration’s approach including its use of “metering” has led to instances with “people who are angry and tired.”


“We do see a lot of anxiety and a lot of desperation,” he said.

Mr. Merkley said adults with minor offenses on their records are losing their children.

“Child separation is continuing,” he said. “If somebody has anything on their record that they can say this justifies it. If they have a DUI for example or a cannabis offense in their background, thing that would never separate a family in the United States of America.”

Mr. Merkley said the surge of migrants trying to pass into the United States has slowed “both because Mexico has deployed thousands of troops to the border with Guatemala and because they made it more difficult to catch buses to the southern border and because of the summer hear.”

“So I think we are seeing a big, big drop in just the last few weeks, and we will see much less of the overcrowding,” he said.