ELIZABETH, NJ – This morning, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), and Albio Sires (D-NJ-08) arrived at the ICE Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey on Father’s Day morning and demanded to see the parents of families separated by the Trump administration’s grotesque so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policies. After being denied entry by ICE for nearly two hours, with center officials blocking the windows and calling local police, the House delegation was eventually allowed inside the jail. After touring the facility and speaking with detained immigrants, Pascrell issued the following statement.

“What we saw here today was heartbreaking. Parents are being held prisoner inside, literally crying to us to be reunited with their families. These are people trying to escape extreme violence and poverty. What is happening to them is despicable. It is a sin.

“Trump and Sessions say they are following laws. That is a lie. There are no laws requiring families to be ripped apart. Trump claims Democrats are to blame for families being broken up. That is a lie. Republicans control every branch of government. For over a decade Republicans have rejected every single immigration compromise put before them. They are making these disgraces happen every day. On this Father’s Day I get to go home to see my children and my grandchildren. These poor souls don’t get that luxury. My heart aches for every one of them.

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“We came here today to tell this administration that this country still believes in the words inscribed on Liberty Island that greeted millions of our forefathers. That America welcomes the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. That America doesn’t put them in tent cities and tear their children away. We will have zero tolerance for any deviations from the words on the Statue of Liberty.”

Visit Rep. Pascrell’s twitter page for more extensive coverage of the event.