Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s office announced Friday that he will be spearheading a tour for fellow members of Congress at a Texas detention site for unauthorized immigrant minors.
Fitzpatrick’s office said the Saturday tour of the Tornillo, Texas, site will include a bipartisan Congressional delegation and is designed to “assess the current situation related to the detention of unaccompanied alien children and the implementation of the President’s recent Executive Order.”
“Since entering Congress, I have advocated for immigration reform that secures our borders, respects the rule of law, and protects the dignity of children brought here through no fault of their own. I firmly opposed the inhumane practice of separating children from their parents at the border. While I am hopeful that the President’s executive order will end the practice of separating families awaiting court proceedings, we must ensure that this order is properly carried out,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
Images released by federal officials this week show rows of bunk beds, a large gathering area, and medical staff inside large tents at the center, which is a roughly a 40 minute drive from El Paso, Texas, and a seven hour trek from San Antonio. The Tornillo site is not far from the United States-Mexico border and next to the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry. The site opened this month under the operation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to CBS News, 200 minors were being held in the facility as of Monday with the capacity to hold up to 4,000 children.
The members of Congress traveling with Fitzpatrick are: Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from Florida; Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado; Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from New York; Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas; and Kathleen Rice, a Democrat from New York.
Once on the ground at the Tornillo site, the elected officials will tour the facility with staff from the Department of Health and Human Services and talk with local leaders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.