Political history repeats as lawmakers press to see immigrant children

The story line is familiar. The number of families and unaccompanied children making it across the border and into the United States is rising. There were questions about how the President’s administration was responding, and how the children and families were being treated, where they were being housed, and how they were being released.

Angered by the chain of events, lawmakers went unannounced to a federal facility housing some of those illegal immigrants and asked to go inside.

The feds said no.

“I was barred entry,” the Senator said. “Trying to get inside to get answers,” he tweeted from Texas.

“Any member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks,” said a member of the House, who was told he couldn’t go inside a federal facility in his home state of Oklahoma.

Reporters weren’t allowed in, either, and it spurred criticism from both the Political Left and the Political Right.

One incident took place on Sunday, as Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) demanded to get into a facility run by the feds in Texas, which was holding immigrant children.

The other incident took place almost four years earlier, when then-Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) demanded to get into a facility run by the feds at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which was holding immigrant children.

One was a Democrat highlighting the refusal of a Republican Administration to give out information about immigrant children.

One was a Republican highlighting the refusal of a Democratic Administration to give out information about immigrant children.

For both, the answer was the same from federal officials – no dice.

Back in 2014 when Bridenstine was blocked,he claimed there was evidence that child traffickers were sponsoring the immigrant children, and then being awarded custody of them by federal officials.

This time, after Merkley was blocked from a spot check, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) started writing a bill that would guarantee such access for lawmakers.

Two different times. Two very different immigration arguments.  But the same outcome.

Lawmakers show up – and they can’t get in.

It’s just a reminder that in politics, history often repeats itself, with story lines that are usually more dependent on whether or not your party is in control of the White House.

 

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