The goal behind the Trump administration's plan to keep migrant families in detention longer is akin to setting up "World War II Japanese-American family detention-style" camps," Sen. Jeff Merkley claimed early Wednesday.
"I have visited these internment camp where now the limit is 20 days," the Oregon Democrat told CNN's "New Day" before the policy was officially announced Wednesday. "They want to be able to hold people indefinitely, hold children indefinitely."
Merkley, the author of a new book decrying the treatment of migrant children under President Donald Trump's administration, said it's "not America" to treat children this way."
The new plan will allow the government to detain children and their families who cross the U.S. border from Mexico indefinitely while their asylum proceedings continue. The administration says it will eliminate catch-and-release laws while deterring people from bringing children with them as a way to enter the country. The Supreme Court-ruled Flores agreement allows children to only be held up to 20 days.
The proceedings could last "many years," said Merkley, and will prove traumatic to children.
The strategy all flows from a plan that says "if we traumatize children, we will deter immigration," he added. "This basic strategy hurt children as a political strategy. It reverberates one moment after another. We see it again here."
Merkely also claimed that if the new plan goes into place, "large internment camps" will go into place "all over America" to handle the number of people being locked up.
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