Cory Booker Ventures to Mexico to Assist Asylum Seekers Entering The US
2020 hopeful joins immigrant rights attorneys in El Paso
Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., traveled to Mexico on Wednesday to escort five female asylum seekers into the United States, according to his campaign.
The 2020 candidate crossed El Paso, Texas port of entry into Ciudad Juarez joined by immigrant rights attorneys and advocates to get five women fleeing domestic violence.
"These women had really horrific stories," Booker told reporters in El Paso.
"They are survivors of sexual violence, attacks. They are being preyed upon. They have legitimate fears. This policy that we have, what it's doing is pushing people who are already vulnerable back into a dangerous situation."
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In a series of tweets, Booker described his visit saying the women had been abused and lived in squalid conditions, and without inadequate food, water and medical attention while detained in the U.S.
"These stories are profoundly alarming, but my words can’t begin to capture the pain. Their very human dignity is under assault, and it’s being done in our name," he tweeted.
According to Fox News: Linda Rivas, an attorney with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, told The El Paso Times the women were victims of sexual assault and labor trafficking in Juarez.
They were subject to the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) program, which sends asylum seekers back to Mexico to await court hearings in the U.S., the paper reported.
"I saw an opportunity that I could make a difference with my office," Booker said, "and get them fairly evaluated. We're going to follow them all the way through that process. They're legitimate, and they should be allowed entry."
Today I crossed the US-Mexico border in El Paso with @fams2gether and @LasAmericasIAC to help five women present themselves for asylum. These are my observations. Please don't look away.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 3, 2019
These stories are profoundly alarming, but my words can’t begin to capture the pain. Their very human dignity is under assault, and it’s being done in our name.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 3, 2019
Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses. The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem. Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
Rivas said the women would most likely be asked to prove they face significant risk if returned to Juarez.
“We hope that they are released from MPP and eventually allowed to seek asylum without being detained” or returned to Mexico, Rivas told the paper.
Booker is the second Democratic presidential candidate to visit Juarez. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke visited the border city on Sunday to draw attention to the plight of immigrants.
Booker's visit comes a day after he unveiled an aggressive plan that would undo much of President Trump's immigration agenda.
His proposal would expand protections for undocumented immigrants through executive order and eliminate immigrant detention.
The Trump administration has come under fire from lawmakers and immigrant rights activists over reports of poor conditions in Border Patrol detention facilities.
A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General detailed overcrowding and prolonged detention, as observed by government inspectors at five facilities in South Texas.
During their visits, the inspectors found many detainees -- including children -- lacked access to showers and lived in unsanitary conditions.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the Border Patrol employees are "not hospital workers, doctors or nurses" and that many undocumented immigrants "are living far better now than where they came from, and in far safer conditions."