Ron: Trump's ‘zero-tolerance” policy makes zero sense and shows zero understanding of American values
Ron this past weekend visited with asylum seekers thrown by the Trump administration into federal detention in Oregon -- with no word about their spouses and children, or opportunity to detail the persecution and terror they fled in their home countries.
He said after meeting with many of the 123 asylum seekers Saturday at the federal prison in Sheridan with Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Rep. Earl Blumenauer that Trump’s “zero-tolerance” treatment of human beings fleeing persecution and terror was inhumane and un-American.
“The Trump ‘zero-tolerance” policy makes zero sense and shows zero understanding of American values,” Ron said. “America is better than this. We don’t just lump people together and dump them in prison.”
The asylum seekers I met at Sheridan's federal prison on Saturday have been lumped together and then dumped into prison. Some have been separated from their families. This needs to stop NOW. #KeepFamiliesTogether pic.twitter.com/eiH13Rzl7i— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 19, 2018
As the son of parents who fled the Nazis and found refuge in America, Ron said the asylum seekers’ stories struck him as both heartbreaking and harrowing.
Several of the asylum seekers from Mexico and Central America were separated from their spouses and children as young as 18 months old at the border, with no opportunity for follow-up contact or even word about their whereabouts.
Those men spoke of fleeing gang violence in their home countries, with one man recounting how he had been shot and another predicting matter-of-factly that gangs would kill him and his family if he were forced to return to Mexico.
Other asylum speakers told Ron about religious persecution, including Sikhs and Christians from India and Christians from China. One of the Chinese asylum seekers said the government forced his Christian wife to terminate her pregnancy because it would have been their third child, in violation of government policy.
Ron followed up Saturday’s tour of the federal prison in Sheridan by meeting Sunday in Portland with local immigration attorneys working to ensure the asylum seekers at Sheridan get humane treatment including the opportunity for religious counsel, medical care and legal counsel.
The senator and local attorneys said after their meeting that they will work to get in the same room to discuss the 123 asylum seekers at Sheridan with local officials representing the federal Bureau of Prisons along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Donald Trump’s grotesque trampling of human rights should have zero place in America and in Oregon,” he said.