Recent reports from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D)NY had Rev. Samuel Rodriguez “full of indignation” when they indicated the deplorable and inhumane conditions illegal immigrants were enduring while at an El Paso County, TX migrant detention center. Rev. Rodriquez was shocked, however, when he and a group of pastors visited the same facility and viewed it as “drastically different.”
Rev. Rodriguez has worked with President Trump, as well as Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush on immigration reform. The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, CA shared his views on his visit to the detention center and his firsthand experience with the press on Monday.
“I read the reports, saw the news clips. I just wanted to see what was actually happening in order to better enable our efforts to find a fair and a just solution to our broken immigration system,” Rodriguez said. “To my surprise, I saw something drastically different from the stories I’ve been hearing in our national discourse. Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.”
When the group of pastors arrived at the migrant detention camps, they were surprised to see a very different picture than what had been described by Ocasio-Cortez, other Democrats, and media outlets.
“We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities,” said Rodriguez.
He also said that he had personally asked border agents if they had recently upgraded facility conditions due to the negative press reports.
“They unequivocally denied it — we were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier,” he added.
Rodriguez also indicated that he was told that the sources from whom the negative press coverage originated “never toured the areas of the facility that we toured” and indicated that he thought political motivation had much to do with the lies.
In the end, the group of pastors found the facilities to be acceptable, and were even encouraged by the dedication of America’s Border Patrol and immigration officers. Rodriguez said that an emotional Border Patrol agent said to him, “Pastor Sam, what they’re saying about us is completely false. We care about these kids and have a passion for our calling.”
Rodriguez blames consecutive White House administrations as well as both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the problems at the border, and says lawmakers need to “address the system they created.”
“What’s heart-wrenching is that we have both Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress, who can’t come together for the purpose of doing the right thing and finding a solution to our immigration crisis,” he said. “Please, President Trump, please White House, work with the Republicans and the Democrats [and] please, please, please, please, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, please come together to solve this crisis, immediately.”