Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Janz of Fresno returned from his weekend trip to the U.S-Mexico border “disappointed” that he wasn’t able to see the conditions there for incarcerated detainees.
But the Fresno County prosecutor continues to press the attack against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
He remains on the offensive, as well, against incumbent District 22 representative Devin Nunes for his tacit support of Trump’s “zero tolerance” order that resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being separated from their parents.
Candidate Joins March To Detention Center
Janz and his wife, Heather, along with members of the activist group Faith in the Valley, were among a couple thousand protesters Saturday afternoon. After arriving in the San Diego area, they marched to the Otay Mesa Detention Center in southern San Diego County.
The 1,458-bed privately operated facility houses immigrants awaiting court proceedings.
“The purpose of our trip was to make sure the executive order stopping the separation of families was being followed and to see if the process of reuniting families had begun,” Janz said Monday. “We tried to gain access but nobody was allowed entry.
“When we got to the outside of the barbed wire area, to see if we would be able to get into the compound, we stopped for a moment of silence. We could hear people yelling and screaming from inside, maybe to get our attention.”
Reunification, thus far, is moving slowly.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress on Tuesday that his department still has custody of 2,047 immigrant children separated from their parents at the border in several states. That is six fewer children than the number in HHS custody as of last Wednesday.
They’re not letting us in pic.twitter.com/caEZ3DCA1B
— Andrew Janz (@JanzforCongress) June 23, 2018
NBC 7 television in San Diego reported that “several protesters” were arrested Saturday at the detention center. The station additionally reported that a detainee inside the center talking via telephone said that detainees were planning their own protest, but they were ordered by center employees not to cheer for the protesters outside.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has scheduled a showdown vote on a broad immigration bill authored by Republicans for Wednesday, but Ryan isn’t projecting confidence that it will pass.
What Janz Immigration Reform Bill Would Look Like
Janz reiterated what he would like to see in an immigration reform bill.
“Any type of immigration bill needs to be comprehensive,” Janz said. “It must have a pathway to citizenship for people who have been here, particularly DREAMERS, with no criminal convictions and a history of paying taxes. It also needs stepped-up border security, a guest-worker program and, most of all, it needs to be bipartisan.”
Janz said that Nunes’ silence while the Trump administration separated children from their parents under the zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized border crossers “shows that he supported the policy at the outset.”
Nunes Finally Speaks
Amid a national outcry over his policy, President Trump relented and ordered a halt to family separations June 20.
However, the president continues to call for immigration enforcement actions that appear to be illegal.
Trump wants me and other law enforcement officials to deport persons without due-process and without actually proving that they are undocumented. Does anyone have one of those memes where Trump is ripping up the U.S. Constitution? -AJ https://t.co/ocNlbqAf2r
— Andrew Janz (@JanzforCongress) June 24, 2018
The Fresno Bee’s Rory Appleton documented Nunes’ conspicuous silence on immigration topics, including zero tolerance, in a story June 20.
When GV Wire asked Nunes’ office for a comment on immigration reform, a spokesman pointed to an interview Nunes gave last week to the Visalia Times-Delta.
“The president’s executive order on family separation, hopefully, is the first step toward a comprehensive solution to the issue of illegal immigration,” Nunes told the Times-Delta in a story published online June 22.
“Now, Congress needs to pass fundamental immigration reform that fixes our broken immigration system, secures the border, meets our agriculture needs, and finds a humane solution for children who ended up in the United States through no fault of their own.”