Rep. Kennedy meeting with immigrants in El Paso Sunday. (Twitter.com/@RepJoeKennedy)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III was a man on a mission Sunday when he went to Tornillo, Texas, the site of the first tent city for children separated from their immigrant parents at the border.
Nearly 2,000 minors have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a six-week period, according to the Associated Press. The AP said the separations coincide with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero tolerance" policy on those entering the country illegally.
Rep. Kennedy participated in a protest march, and tried to visit children at the Tornillo camp--but was turned away by federal officials. He then visited with immigrants in El Paso, Texas and crossed into Ciudad Juárez. Kennedy spoke to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 about his visit.
"It is awfully hard to come to any other conclusion than the Trump administration knows that this is a horrible, shameful, deliberate policy to inflict pain and suffering on immigrant children and their families," Rep. Kennedy said. "This is a horrifying practice that has been put in place, and it is causing horrible, horrible damage to our children, and it just needs to end.
Kennedy has highlighted "misinformation and conflicting info" from the Trump administration regarding the separation policy--including whether or not it is an official policy at all. When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded to accounts in media about children being separated from their families, tweeting "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," Kennedy responded that the officials he spoke to in Texas believed that it was US policy to separate families.
"If this isn’t the White House policy, please tell the officials who I spoke with in Tornillo today who believe it is. Either own it or change it. Scratch that - just change it. #KeepFamiliesTogether," Kennedy tweeted.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports