When Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley tried to visit a detention center for child immigrants in , Texas, last weekend, he was turned away. The Facebook Live video of his journey through the bureaucratic shadows went viral. In the 20 hours after it was shared, it was viewed 1.1 million times.
As viral videos go, it was rather low-drama: it mostly featured Merkley standing around in the hot Texas sun for almost a half hour, waiting for a supervisor of the nonprofit Southwest Key shelter to come tell him why he could not enter the facility. One high point was when the senator inadvertently shared his personal cell-phone number with his million-plus viewers, trying to get someone in authority to return his call.
“I think it’s unacceptable that a member of Congress is not being admitted to see what’s happening to children whose families are applying for asylum,” Merkley told the cameras while he waited. “Can you imagine? You come to this strange land.… You’re seeking asylum, and the first thing that happens when you get here is you’re torn away from your parents?… America has never done this before!… The intention is to hurt the children, cause the children trauma and discourage people from seeking asylum in the United States of America.” via The Nation
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