Dem reps live-tweet migrants’ attempts to apply for asylum

Twitter video

California Democratic Reps. Nanette Barragán and Jimmy Gomez on Monday evening live-tweeted their experiences watching migrants attempt to apply for asylum at the southern border.

Barragán at one point in the evening claimed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained a member of her staff as he tried to pass back into the U.S. after briefly crossing the border. The Hill was not able to confirm the claim.

{mosads}”Now CBP detaining my staff as he tried to pass back into the US,” Barragán tweeted. “Holding him at second inspection. Intimidation tactics at its worst.” 

Barragán and Gomez tweeted from a port of entry in Otay Mesa, San Diego. 

They both said they were seeking to investigate reports that CBP has been turning away asylum-seekers, claiming that their ports of entry have reached capacity. 

“[CBP] has refused to show @ and I any sign of a capacity issue and we have been here for 5 hours,” Gomez tweeted shortly after 10 p.m.  

A CBP spokesman in an emailed statement to The Hill said border patrol experienced “a 121 percent increase in the number of asylum seekers we processed at our ports of entry” this past year. 

“As we have done for several years, when our ports of entry reach capacity, we have to manage the queues and individuals presenting without documents may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities,” the spokesman said in the statement. 

CBP did not provide comment on Barragán’s claim that one of her staff members had been detained. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, of which the two Democrats are members, and Families Belong Together, the advocacy group that took Barragán and Gomez to the border, did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment.

Barragán earlier in the evening tweeted that she and Gomez observed a family and a group of unaccompanied minors attempting to present themselves for asylum at the port of entry. 

“They are being ignored,” Barragán wrote. 

“What we’re seeing here is they’re saying that they don’t have the capacity but that doesn’t seem to be the case because no one has been allowed in to see if they have the capacity,” Gomez said in a video posted by Families Belong Together. “We’re here to observe, to make sure they’re following U.S. law and international law.” 

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