July 28, 2019

Wyden Returns to Southern Border with Oregon Advocates to Investigate Conditions for Migrants, Examine Damaging Impacts of Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” and “Metering” Policies

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this weekend led a group of Oregon advocates and experts to El Paso, Texas and Otero County, New Mexico to investigate conditions for migrants – including children – at facilities on the southern border. The group also visited Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to better understand the damaging impacts of the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” and “metering” policies.

Wyden, the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, was joined by Dr. Lauren Herbert, MD, a pediatrician and infectious diseases specialist in Springfield, Oregon; Rabbi Michael Cahana, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, Portland; Stephen Manning, Founder and Executive Director of Innovation Law Lab; and Ian Philabaum, Program Director at Innovation Law Lab.

“Donald Trump’s policies are wrong, and we saw firsthand the suffering and irreparable damage they cause. This is not what America is about – this administration is perpetrating blatant human rights abuses and violations of our own laws,” said Wyden. “I’m going back to Washington deeply grateful for the Oregonians who came with me on this trip and for the advocates on the ground fighting for the rights of those seeking safety. Things have to change, and now.”

The group visited the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry to evaluate the conditions for families held in custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As part of Wyden’s bipartisan investigation into taxpayer-funded grantees that care for unaccompanied children, the group also toured a facility operated by Southwest Key.

Click here for video on Wyden’s and Dr. Herbert’s reactions to El Paso Norte Port of Entry.

Additionally, Wyden and the Oregon advocates visited the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Otero County Processing Center, a for-profit immigration detention facility with reports of serious abuses leading to ongoing hunger strikes by detainees.

Click here for video for an account of Wyden’s meeting with detainees who are on hunger strike at the Otero County Processing Center.

The group concluded their trip with a visit to a shelter in Ciuadad Juárez, Mexico, housing asylum seekers fleeing persecution and violence and who are forced to remain in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s “metering” and “remain in Mexico” policies.

Click here for video on Wyden’s visit to Ciuadad Juárez and the group’s efforts to help a pregnant mother facing potential medical complications, her husband and three-year-old son get into the United States to pursue their legal right to asylum and receive immediate medical care.