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Latino Pastors: Border Facilities Were Humane, Not Concentration Camps

"I just wanted to see what was actually happening ..."

View of a section where the US-Mexico border fence ends as seen from Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on June 18, 2019.
AGUSTIN PAULLIER/AFP/Getty Images

According to the media and firebrand leftists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the migrant detention centers at the U.S. southern border are deplorable "concentration camps" with some of the worst living conditions imaginable. But several Latino pastors who visited the facilities have refuted that claim and extolled the federal agents for their efforts in keeping conditions there humane.

 

"Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was 'full of indignation' when he saw the reports and heard from politicians about the deplorable and inhumane conditions for illegal immigrants at an El Paso County, Texas migrant detention center," reports Fox News. "But what he saw at the same facility toured by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. with a group of pastors was 'drastically different.'"

As the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Rodriguez has advised Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump on immigration before. In a press briefing on Monday, he refuted the claims that detained immigrants are being mistreated after seeing the situation firsthand.

"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."

"We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions, and no lack of basic necessities," Rodriguez declared.

When he asked federal immigration agents if they staged the facility for the visit, Rodriguez said "they unequivocally denied it."

 

"We were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier," he added, noting that people reporting on such horrific conditions "never toured the areas of the facility that we toured."

Rodriguez even wondered aloud if the naysayers had political motivations for their smear campaign. He also highlighted the fact that most "are Latinos" and lamented to him personally about being unfairly maligned by the press.

"Pastor Sam, what they're saying about us is completely false. We care about these kids and have a passion for our calling," Rodriguez said one distraught agent told him.

 

Both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the broken immigration system, according to Rodriguez. "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."

Rodriguez was not alone in his praise of the federal immigration agents and the humane conditions of the migrant detention centers. Joining him was Pastor Carlos Moran, an immigrant himself, who called upon political leaders to stop employing heated rhetoric and to actually solve the underlying problem.

"We as evangelical leaders that serve in different segments, are very committed to helping children regardless of their status and we commend those officers that are trying their very best to serve and fulfill their duty at the border," said Moran. "However, we do call on our political leaders to set aside their personal agendas and begin focusing on resolving this immigration crisis."

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