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Dem. Senator Jeff Merkley: Trump Detaining Unaccompanied Minors in ‘Dog Kennels’

unaccompanied minors
Garnace Burke/AP
Washington, D.C.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is now accusing President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of detaining border crossers and unaccompanied minors in “dog kennels” and “cages.”

During a conference call with the media on Tuesday, Merkley continued his allegations against the Trump administration days after he failed in his attempt to live broadcast detention facilities where unaccompanied minors are held in federal custody, as Breitbart News reported.

On Tuesday, Merkley doubled down on his accusations, claiming that when he was able to tour the DHS facility, he saw unaccompanied minors being held in “dog kennels” and “cages.”

White House officials and a DHS spokesperson have already debunked Merkley’s claims, firing back in statements to Breitbart News that the left-wing lawmaker is “spreading blatant lies” about routine immigration enforcement.

“This is not a zero tolerance policy, this is a zero humanity police,” Merkley said of the Trump administration’s border approach, which includes prosecuting all illegal border crossers rather than releasing them into the interior of the U.S.

Merkley, in the midst of the conference call, repeatedly claimed that Trump was “ripping children out of their parents’ arms” by prosecuting illegal border crossers.

The policy to prosecute border crossers, including illegal alien parents who cross the border with their children, results in border-crossing parents having their children taken into federal custody. This is a loophole known as the Flores Settlement Agreement.

Trump has asked the Republican-controlled Congress and Democrats to close the loophole so that minors can be swiftly deported from the U.S. with their border-crossing parents, but lawmakers have failed to end the agreement.

While Merkley has made wild accusations against the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement measures, leaders in the Democratic Party — like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — have steered clear of boosting Merkley’s claims.

In a 2014 poll, a majority of swing voters and GOP voters said that even migrants described as “children” should be deported “as soon as possible,” as Breitbart News’s Neil Munro reported at the time. The poll indicated that in the midst of this border crisis, Americans by a majority support tougher than usual border policies.

As Breitbart News reported, unaccompanied minors arriving at the southern border and being resettled across the U.S. have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. Last year, alone, unaccompanied minors cost taxpayers $1.4 billion to house and to provide welfare for them.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.  

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