Joaquín Castro Preview Bill to Guarantee Members of Congress Access to Immigration Facilities
Congressman Joaquín Castro (D-TX) said this week that he’s planning to draft a bill that would guarantee access to federal lawmakers visiting immigration facilities. The bill comes after Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) planned to visit unaccompanied immigrant children at a detention facility in Brownsville, TX on Sunday. But minutes after he arrived, officials from the center called the police and told him to leave the property. After a brief interaction with Brownsville police officers, the Senator was asked to leave by police, and he complied. Castro said he understood that the administrators of detention facilities need notice prior to visits, but he argued that members of Congress, especially those who are high ranking or lead committees, should have the ability to make unannounced visits in order to inspect facilities. “It’s important because they’re housing vulnerable people, particularly minors,” Castro said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. He added that it’s crucial for members of Congress, who are charged with overseeing the function of government agencies, “have the ability to inspect these facilities.” We’ll keep you posted when the bill is introduced. More here.