A group of pastors led by the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is outraged over the depiction of migrant detention centers as inhumane and filthy.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez said he was “full of indignation” when he heard politicians like Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemn the treatment of migrants because he says what he saw in El Paso, Texas was “drastically different,” Fox News reported Tuesday.
And there appears to be inconsistencies in Ocasio-Cortez’s story.
She also reportedly screamed at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guard.
Rodriguez is also pastor of the evangelical New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California and he shared his observations with reporters on Monday following a tour of the detention facilities.
“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 told reporters. The pastor, who has been an immigration reform advisor to President Donald Trump and former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, suggested the heinous descriptions of the center were rooted in “misinformation.”
“To my surprise, I saw something drastically different from the stories I’ve been hearing in our national discourse,” he said. “Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.”
The pastors said the narrative being offered by some Democratic politicians is like an alternate reality.
“We found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities,” Rodriguez continued, noting that he made a point about asking the CBP agents if they had cleaned up the facility in anticipation of an inspection.
“They unequivocally denied it — we were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier,” he said.
Moreover, Rodriguez claimed that sources told him some of the politicians who bemoaned the miserable conditions at the center had “never toured the areas of the facility that we toured.”
Rather than feeling dismayed, the pastors say their faith in the motives and abilities of the CBP agents has been refreshed — especially since many of the federal workers “are Latinos, by the way.”
Rodriguez left reporters with the words of one CBP agent who expressed his frustration over being demonized by politicians: “Pastor Sam, what they’re saying about us is completely false. We care about these kids and have a passion for our calling.”