Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said he “fought back tears” after witnessing a sobbing girl separated from her grandmother at a U.S. border facility Friday.
A young girl was seen sobbing at a border facility Friday while explaining through a translator how she had been separated from her grandmother, Sen. Chris Murphy said in a tweet after he toured the facility with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Murphy said he witnessed hundreds of kids packed into “big open rooms.”
“Just left the border processing facility. 100s of kids packed into big open rooms,” Murphy tweeted. “In a corner, I fought back tears as a 13 yr old girl sobbbed (sic) uncontrollably explaining thru a translator how terrified she was, having been separated from her grandmother and without her parents.”
For clarification, kids are no longer separated from their parents at the border (in this case, the girl’s parents are in the US). But even though kids can now stay and apply for asylum, if they are traveling w relatives who aren’t parents, the relative can’t stay.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 19, 2021
Murphy later clarified his tweet, saying migrant children aren’t currently being separated from parents at the border. However, children who cross the border with a relative who isn’t their parent, such as a grandmother, are still being separated, Murphy said.
Customs and Border Protection didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry regarding Murphy’s tweet and the agency’s current policy at the border.
Facilities that house migrants and migrant children have reportedly been overwhelmed over the last month as President Joe Biden’s administration attempts to halt the border surge. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki finally referred to the situation at the border as a “crisis” on Thursday.
More than 13,000 unaccompanied minors were in U.S. border control custody as of Monday, CBS News reported. Thousands have been detained for more than 72 hours, which is the legal limit, according to BBC News.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration was widely condemned after it implemented a “zero tolerance” policy at the border, which led to hundreds of children being separated from their parents in 2018. After facing criticism, Trump backed down and reversed his policy, Reuters reported at the time.
Murphy tweeted in June 2018 that Trump had “stolen 2,000 little children from their parents and locked them in cages.”