Failed U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke calls for the closing of a tent city in Tornillo, Texas but there is one little pesky detail overlooked. O’Rourke wants the facility to close but he has no alternative solution in mind for the 2700 teenage detainees currently living there. He encouraged the non-profit organization currently running the facility not to renew its federal contract when it expires at the end of December.
It doesn’t get much more irresponsible than this. Under the guise of his liberal bleeding heart, O’Rourke and four other congressional Democrats visited the Tornillo facility Saturday. The group which also included Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Rep.Judy Chu (D-CA). That’s quite the liberal crew, right?
The lawmakers urged the nonprofit running the facility not to renew a federal contract that expires Dec. 31, a longshot request that could effectively shutter the camp. It was supposed to be temporary but has instead taken in more children and taken on a permanent feel with soccer fields, a dining facility and tents housing separate sleeping quarters for boys and girls.
“They kind of nodded their heads, but what are they going to say when everyone around them is watching?” O’Rourke said after touring the facility. “But there was something in the look on their faces that we saw, the way that they weren’t really engaged in the sports that they were playing out on those fields.”
“We need to shut it down,” Chu added. “It is inhumane. It is a child prison. It has no right to exist.”
I would suggest to Rep. Chu that it is inhumane to send unaccompanied minors, the occupants of this facility, to the U.S. border and expect them to fend for themselves as they try to illegally enter the country. None of the lawmakers offered an alternative for the teens. What would they have the facility operator do? Simply turn the teens loose and hope they survive on their own? All the emotional appeals in the world won’t compensate for the hardships these young people will face in a foreign country unable to speak English and provide for themselves.
The Democrats said they urged BCFS Health and Human Services to refuse to renew its contract with the U.S. government. But the lawmakers said that even if that happened, they weren’t sure where the children being held at Tornillo would be transferred as a result.
The Tornillo facility is obligated to run state background checks but the federal requirement for FBI fingerprint checks has been waived in verifying adult custodians for the teens. So far there have been 170 apprehensions for immigration violations made. O’Rourke wants public pressure to force the closure of the facility. He says federal policies mean we are “turning our backs on these people.”
The contractor, BCFS Health and Human Services says the cost of running the facility is about $1M per day. It is supposed to be a temporary emergency facility. With the continued onset of illegal aliens attempting to enter the country seeming to have no end, however, there is no real timeline for how long the tent city will exist. O’Rourke claims Tornillo is the location for the teen camp because it is a remote place in far west Texas “so the people don’t know what is happening here.” Again, an emotional appeal without factual validity. He made that statement as he was conducting his fourth visit to it and each time he brings other lawmakers with him. The facility is located there because that is where the need arose. Good lord. Were there no need, it would not be in Tornillo.
The story picked up by Mother Jones ( yes,I know) dwelled on O’Rourke’s objections to current immigration law that requires a process to find legal guardians for these teen migrants. Does he offer an alternative? No. No, he does not. Clearly he is just criticizing the administration for following the law.
There are 1,300 kids ready to leave to live with sponsors who have already been identified. But these children remain at Tornillo each day because this administration has deliberately prolonged the process of releasing them.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 15, 2018
We're turning our backs not just on asylum seekers but on our best traditions. And it falls on all of us until we make this right. We have to put the public pressure on this administration until children are reunited with their families and Tornillo is closed down. pic.twitter.com/SoCAJhD5Q2
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 15, 2018
O’Rourke called for the type of widespread activism that earlier this year helped force the administration to end its policy of separating migrant families who enter the country illegally. “The public pressure that you brought to bear after Father’s Day that ended the practice of family separation—we need that same pressure again, brought to bear on this administration, to close Tornillo,” O’Rourke said
Senator Merkley called the camp a “child prison camp” on Twitter. He claimed that none of the lawmakers were allowed to speak with the children yet O’Rourke said that he spoke with some of them. Emotional appeals are not always factual. I think most rational people would consider the tent city a shelter rather than a prison camp, but maybe that’s just me.
I just left the tent city at Tornillo. It is a child prison camp. They refused our request to speak with the children who are held there.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) December 15, 2018
So, what is the solution? If the child has no adult available living legally in America to willingly be a guardian for him/her while the asylum process plays out, the child should be sent back to the country of origin. That, too, costs taxpayer money and resources. There is no solution that the American taxpayer doesn’t pay for yet the blame America crowd prefers to just bitch and moan, to use an expression I frequently heard as a teenager, rather than say, reform the immigration laws currently in place. In Trump’s America, it is as though illegal immigration has never been a problem in the past. Even with the recent uptick the Trump administration has faced, former President Obama still holds the title of “Deporter-in-Chief”. Where was all this emoting then?