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The Latest: Protesters block bus carrying immigrant kids

The Latest: Protesters block bus carrying immigrant kids
The Associated Press

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the separation of immigrant children from their parents following President Donald Trump’s order allowing them to remain with their parents (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

A group of immigrant rights protesters has blocked a bus carrying immigrant children outside a U.S.-Mexico border processing facility.

Local and state police were called in Saturday to help disperse the crowd and enable the bus to proceed.

The bus eventually left the area. Border patrol agents did not say where it was headed.

The incident occurred amid an uproar over the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant families caught on the southwest border. President Donald Trump signed an order this week to keep families detained together during immigration proceedings.

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2:10 p.m.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and four of the state’s Democratic House members are touring a detention center where about 100 immigrant children taken from their parents are being held.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters Saturday in Homestead, Florida, that she and Nelson should have been allowed access on Tuesday when they first went to the facility but were turned away. She said being told to come back four days later prevented them as members of Congress from performing their duty to oversee government operations. She said at most they should have been kept out for a few hours.

Rep. Darren Soto said the decision by the facility’s administrators to deny Nelson and Wasserman Schultz access earlier made him wonder what they were hiding.

Those three plus Reps. Frederica Wilson and Ted Deutch took 50 red, white and blue balloons with them inside. Wilson said the balloons were to show the children that the American people care about them.

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12:30 p.m.

An attorney in Texas has been trying to reunite parents at an immigration detention facility with their children after U.S. authorities separated them on the southwest border.

Lawyer Jodi Goodwin said Saturday that another attorney identified the parents at criminal court hearings in McAllen, Texas.

She has been reaching out to the parents at a detention facility in Port Isabel, Texas, to collect information about their cases and their children.

She says she has been inundated with requests for help from the parents and the list is still growing. She says she doesn’t know how many parents she has connected with so far.

She says Immigration and Customs Enforcement has asked her for a list of names to assist in the process.

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11:55 a.m.

More than two dozen Democratic U.S. House members are touring immigration facilities for a firsthand look at the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

Speaking to reporters Saturday after visiting a Customs and Border Protection processing facility in the U.S-Mexico border city of McAllen, they described seeing children sleeping behind bars, on concrete floors and under emergency “mylar” heat-resistant blanks.

California Congressman Jackie Speier says, “It is, for all intents and purposes, a prison.”

More than 2,300 children were taken from their families in recent weeks under a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy in which people entering the U.S. illegally face being prosecuted. Parents and children were being detained separately. But after public outcry, President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered that they be brought back together.

The Democrats said they haven’t seen a coherent system for reuniting parents and children. They also said that even when parents and children aren’t separated, they’re often housed in adjacent cells that keep them apart.

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11:15 p.m.

Protests and rallies focused around the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are scheduled this weekend, while more than two dozen congressional Democrats plan to visit detention facilities in Texas.

More than 2,300 children were taken from their families in recent weeks under a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy in which people entering the U.S. illegally face being prosecuted. Parents and children were being detained separately. But after public outcry, President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered that they be brought back together.

Confusion has ensued, with parents left searching for their children.

Events planned include a rally Saturday in Fort Worth, where the Texas Democratic Convention is being held, and a protest in Homestead, Florida.

The Democratic lawmakers plan to visit detention facilities Saturday in McAllen and Los Fresnos.

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See AP’s complete coverage of the debate over the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border: https://apnews.com/tag/Immigration

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