Capitol Alert

After protests, Rep. Matsui announces Mexico border trip to tour immigration sites

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui announced Thursday that she plans to visit border patrol and processing sites in Texas this weekend to investigate human rights complaints.

She disclosed her plan as demonstrations unfolded outside of her Sacramento office where activists for the second consecutive week advocated for the government to provide better conditions to immigrants detained at the border.

Matsui in a written statement indicated she shared their concerns.

“Every child’s life is sacred, and no one, particularly children, should suffer trauma at the hands of our federal government,” Matsui said. “We cannot stand idly by and allow this to happen. That’s why I am heading to the U.S.-Mexico border to provide oversight and investigate different avenues for us to hold the Trump Administration accountable and end this tragic chapter in our history.”

Her visit follows reports of of unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in a border station in Clinton, Texas and a well-circulated photo showing the bodies of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande last month.

The House of Representatives last month approved a $4.5 billion spending bill to address a humanitarian crisis unfolding at the border, and the Trump administration has continued its campaign to deter border crossings. This weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reportedly is planning to carry out large-scale arrests of undocumented immigrants.

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement met with Matsui Thursday morning to ask her to oppose further spending on immigration enforcement at the border and to close ICE facilities.

“We as taxpayers do not want our taxpayer dollars to go into federal prisons that separates families and that hurt children,” Desiree Rojas, president of organization said. She referred to ICE facilities at the border as “child ICE concentration camps” and “a crime against humanity.”

Demonstrators outside the Robert T. Matsui federal courthouse, which houses offices for Matsui and Sen. Kamala Harris, brought two cages with toy kids inside of them wrapped in Mylar blankets with signs on them saying “No Kids in Cages.” Another sign in the shape of a tombstone had “How Many More?” written on it.

Matsui plans to visit border patrol in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas with 19 other Democratic colleagues and meet with humanitarian organizations as well as asylum seekers this weekend.

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Elizabeth Shwe, from Princeton University, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee interested in politics and immigration. She grew up in New Jersey.