After visiting a detention center in southern Texas on Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for “independent verification” on the number of children who have been reportedly reunited with their parents at the border.
According to a statement released by the Trump administration on Saturday, 522 children have been reunited with their parents. In an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday, Warren said she’s doubtful those numbers are true, after a trip to a detention center in McAllen, Texas.
“Every mother I spoke with said she was lied to,” Warren said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday. “All of this started with someone lying to the mothers in order to get them separated. They have not been able to talk to their children and they have no idea where their children are.”
Warren traveled with a Democratic delegation to McAllen, Texas, where she said she saw “a giant warehouse” containing “people in cages,” separated by gender and age.
“If customs and border patrol was trying to keep me from seeing something, they sure wouldn’t have let me see what I saw,” Warren said. because what I saw was really terrible, and it was the United States government doing this with human beings, doing this with little children.
Warren said she spoke to mothers who were told their children were being taken to a “warmer place” and never returned, or separated while they were headed into immigration court.
“One mother was asleep on the floor with her seven year-old next to her, and they woke her up at three in the morning and said “you’ve got to come” and her child was still asleep,” Warren said, “and she believed, from what they said, she would be coming back.”
“All she kept doing was repeating over and over, ‘I never got to say goodbye, I didn’t say goodbye, I didn’t say goodbye’ and weeping,” Warren continued. “It was hard to get much of anything else from her, she was… that’s the loop she’s caught in.”
Last Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an order to reverse the policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, and according to Saturday’s White House statement, the Trump administration is taking steps to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children who were separated from their parents during a recent crackdown, and has already reunited more than 500.
“They’re offering no documentation to back this up,” Warren said. “Frankly, there’s just no way to know.”
While at the facility, Warren said she saw things that conflicted with what she had been told. “Before I went into the big warehouse facility, the agents told me no children are being separated from their families. And I said no children? They said that’s right, no children are being separated from their families,” Warren said. “And then I encountered a giant cage of little girls.”
Warren said she asked a customs agent where the girls came from, and was told they were not separated from their parents because their parents were still in the building.
“These folks were defining “not separated” as they were literally under one roof, at least at the moment I was there,” Warren said. “Not one of the children I could find had been able to speak to her mother or her father — I still call that separated.”
“But officially, according to the people who are running this facility, they are not separated,” Warren continued. “When they turn around and say oh, we’ve already reunited 500 plus families, I am very concerned about what their definition of “reunited” is, and I would like some independent verification of those numbers.”