Her comments came before President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that he said would stop children from being separated from their parents, a move he said was about “keeping families together.”
When asked about the visibility of the detention centers where thousands of separated children are currently held, Cortez Masto claims that the White House is stonewalling lawmakers’ access.
John Moore/Getty ImagesA two-year-old Honduran girl cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
“We can’t get answers,” she stated. “We have been asking this question from the very beginning and [are] not getting any of those answers from this administration.”
She demands to know: “Where’s the transparency? Where’s the accountability?”
Cortez Masto is the first Latina and female from Nevada ever elected to the U.S. Senate. She has been particularly vocal about the White House’s zero tolerance immigration policy, which she believes is part of President Trump’s greater “anti-immigrant agenda.”
Bill Clark/Getty ImagesCatherine Cortez Masto, Democratic candidate for Senate from Nevada, shakes hands with the crowd after a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nov. 6, 2016.
“It’s clear. From the time that he started campaigning and talking about people coming across the border that were criminals…and drug dealers and rapists, to the Muslim ban…he has an anti-immigrant policy and we see that playing out.”
The Nevada Democrat claims that the “easiest” and “quickest” way to stop family separation at the United States-Mexico border is not legislation by Congress but instead, action on President Trump’s part.
“[Legislation is] not needed if we’re going to make the change. Simply the president, all he has to do is change a policy back,” she explained. “This administration can correct all of this and can stop it — by just picking up a pen and making that change.”
“Stop separating these parents from their children. Stop traumatizing kids that are coming across this border,” the senator stated.
APPresident Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of the National Space Council in the White House, June 18, 2018, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks near the border with Tijuana, Mexico, May 7, 2018, in San Diego.
The Nevada politician has not yet been to a detention center but says she plans to visit one on Monday “to see for myself.”
In the meantime, Cortez Masto’s message to President Trump is clear: “Nobody should use children as bargaining chips for political gain. It should never be done. Never.”
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