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. 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.”
The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, and senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento shared his firsthand experience touring a migrant detention center during a press briefing 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, who has advised President Trump and both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush on immigration reform, noted. “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 remarked, adding he specifically asked border agents if they staged the facility in response to the negative press. “They unequivocally denied it — we were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier.”
In fact, some told him the sources from whom the negative coverage originated “never toured the areas of the facility that we toured” and speculated they might have had political motivations.