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Here's what I saw at the border

I've spent the last few days at the border and in Juárez, Mexico with immigration advocates and experts from Oregon to see the horrors of this administration's immigration policy firsthand. I'm equally heartbroken and enraged: conditions are not only as grim as we've heard, but about as cruel as we can imagine.

Our team – including a pediatrician from Springfield, Dr. Lauren Herbert, Stephen Manning, a lawyer from the Innovation Law Lab, Ian Philabaum of Innovation Law Lab, and my Rabbi, Michael Cahana – went to Juárez to meet with asylum seekers shut out of our country by Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy.

There, we heard from people who fled their homes because of the gang violence and government corruption that caused them to fear for their lives and the lives of their small children. They told us of the treacherous journey to the United States, through kidnappings and witnessing gruesome violence and the heartless slaughter of innocents by gangs and cartels. Risking their lives time and time again - only to be turned away when they finally arrived at the USA.

We also met a young woman, thirty-eight weeks pregnant, fleeing from violence in Guerrero, Mexico with her husband and three year old child.

She told us about her difficult pregnancy, and recent alarming complications. Dr. Herbert immediately realized that if we didn't get her to a hospital, both mother and baby might die.

We brought her to the border crossing, where officers told her they were "full," even though immigration law forbids sending refugees back to the country they're fleeing. It wasn't until I showed my Senate ID badge that they finally granted the family their rights, allowed them to pass, and made sure the mother received the medical care she needs.

It shouldn't take being accompanied by a US Senator for asylum seekers to get the emergency medical care they need and not have their rights denied.

The family we met was heard only because they happened to meet a visiting U.S. Senator that day at their shelter in Juárez - and that's not something that has ever happened to these asylum seekers.

People are being unjustly shut out of our country, being denied the care they need, and are losing their lives because of Donald Trump's zero-tolerance, greatest-malice immigration policies.

Head over to Facebook to join our conversation on conditions at the border, the human rights violations committed in our name by this administration, and what you can do to support the families in crisis.


Posted on July 28, 2019.

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