Dem rips Trump: US should not inflict 'cruelty on children' to deter asylum seekers

Dem rips Trump: US should not inflict 'cruelty on children' to deter asylum seekers
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Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (D-Ore.) late Sunday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE’s immigration policies after being blocked from entering an immigration detention facility over the weekend.

Merkley responded to a tweet from Trump last month claiming that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy separating immigrant children and parents at the border.

“Mr. President, the only 'horrible law' is YOUR policy. YOU have the power to change it. If you saw what I saw today, you would,” Merkley tweeted Sunday night.

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“Never before has America deliberately inflicted cruelty on children to deter asylum seekers from finding refuge here. Never. And we never should,” he wrote.

Merkley attempted to enter an immigration detention center in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday, but was unsuccessful.

“I am told that this former Walmart may currently be housing hundreds of refugee children who have been separated from their parents,” the senator wrote in the caption to a video he posted about his attempt.

The senator was blocked from entering the center and said that law enforcement was called on him. 

"The reason why I came is this new policy that the attorney general has in place of families that are waiting for the adjudication of their application for asylum in the U.S., and the children are being separated," Merkley said in the video.

The Trump administration began enforcing a policy earlier this year requiring that immigrant parents and children be separated when they arrive at the U.S. seeking asylum.