Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined a rally in support of protesters who are against the child migrant detention facility in Texas. O’Rourke urged the protesters to keep pushing the government to close down the camp and to free the children detained, adding that it is a result of the President’s “no tolerance” immigration policy.
Over 2,700 underaged children have been detained at the migrant camp in Tornillo near the border with Mexico. Activists are rallying and singing Christmas carols, urging the release of migrant children.
O’Rourke joined them Sunday, posting a clip of a speech he gave to the crowd to his Twitter page. “We can’t let up. We can’t stop showing up,” he wrote alongside the video. “We will be back here again and again until the camp closes down for good.” The protesters plan to remain there until at least January 1.
O’Rourke explained that some of the minors inside had been detained for several months, since the summer, as a result of the Trump administration’s “no tolerance” immigration policy. O’Rourke called the conditions “tantamount to torture.”
“To not know where your parents are, when you’ll be able to be with your family. To be a stranger in a strange land, in a tent in the middle of the desert,” he continued. “A kind of purgatory or limbo, not knowing when or if you’re going to see your family again or if you’re going to get out or go back to the country from which you fled in the first place.”
“Let’s continue to show up here,” he said. “Let’s continue to get behind Josh and others who have been here every single day so that we can witness with our own eyes, testify with our own words to our fellow Americans what is going on here. The fact that you are here is producing the change that these kids so desperately need.”
O’Rourke told the crowd he had spoken with company CEO Kevin Dinnin, and explained that Dinnin told him the center was no longer accepting children, with 300 minors ready to be transferred out of Tornillo.
Though Dinnin reportedly said he was struggling to find transportation arrangements for the children over the busy holiday period, he told O’Rourke that if transportation was found the camp could be closed by mid-January, Newsweek reported.
The Trump administration last week loosened restrictions for sponsors who wish to look after the children, a move that could accelerate their release. As of May, all adults moving into a potential sponsor’s home had to submit fingerprints to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency would then share the information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As of last week, only the sponsor was required to submit fingerprints.