Some four progressive Democratic Congress members made appearances on the annual convention of Netroots Nation on Saturday where they slammed the Trump administration for the repression of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“If there were dogs in those cages, every single member of Congress would vote to make sure those cages didn’t exist,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said, quoting another Democrat who spoke of the ill conditions at the border, Newsweek reports.
Besides Omar, in Philadelphia on stage appeared Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Deb Haaland.
“I think it’s really important for us not to normalize the behavior of this president and this administration,” Omar said. “It’s a constant pile of garbage that comes out of his mouth, the mouths of the people that speak for him, his administration.”
Pressley said that she had no interest in the “palace intrigue” that was taking place in the White House with Trump’s staff at Capitol Hill.
Tlaib inveighed against immigration detention at the border, predicting that “a whole generation of children… will never forget what our nation did to them.”
“There needs to be real comprehensive immigration reform in our country,” she said. “It can’t be about numbers and who to blame. It has to be about the children and the families that are devastated. It is devastating to see.”
After Vice President Mike Pence visited a pair of migrant screening centers in Texas on Friday, he quickly informed the press of his initial impressions: “I was not surprised by what I saw.”
“I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed,” he said.
One of the centers was overcrowded and reportedly reeked from a lack of access to proper hygiene for detainees.
But panelists at the Netroots Nation event would not accept even the best version of detention facilities offered to migrants under the current system.
Pressley said that even if you improve the horrid conditions inside processing centers, which have been documented by the government’s own internal Homeland Security watchdog, migrants are still left to languish.
She observed that “if we improve the conditions of a child in a cage, they are still in a cage.”
“What is happening in these ICE facilities [is that] they pilot how they can abuse privacy rights, how they can abuse human rights, and they scale that up,” Pressley alleged.