Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) led a protest Sunday outside a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, that houses migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hundreds gathered for the protests on Father’s Day near El Paso, less than 24 hours after O’Rourke called for people to take action, the Dallas Morning News reported.
"We decided there wouldn't be a more powerful way to spend Father's Day than with children who have just been taken from their fathers, children who have been taken from their mothers, children who won't be able to be with their family," O’Rourke said, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Democrat, who is challenging Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMatthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' Professor tells Cruz that Texas's voter ID law is racist Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks MORE (R-Texas) in the upcoming midterm elections, said that about 200 children are currently being held in the facility. He added that 20 percent of the children housed there had been separated from their parents.
"We would like to think, and we try to tell ourselves, this is not America, this is not us, this is not what we do," O’Rourke said at the protest. "But ladies and gentleman, at this moment, this is America, this is us, this is what we are doing."
Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedySupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE III (D-Mass.) was also at the protest, as well as other notable Democrats from the state, including Texas gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez (D) and Veronica Escobar, the Democratic nominee for O’Rourke’s seat.
The Trump administration implemented a “zero tolerance” policy at the border earlier this year, prosecuting anyone apprehended illegally crossing the border.
Migrant children and parents are separated and prosecuted separately.
The policy dividing the immigrant families has faced major backlash, including from first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpFormer aide sees Melania Trump as 'the doomed French queen': book If another 9/11 happened in a divided 2021, could national unity be achieved again? Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham planning book: report MORE.
President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE previously called the policy “horrible” but has called on Democrats to change the measure.
Senate Democrats introduced a bill earlier this month to stop the policy.