Sen. Tina Smith to visit southern US border facilities

Sen. Tina Smith to visit southern US border facilities Photo: KSTP-TV

December 14, 2018 08:25 AM

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith is set to visit three border facilities in Texas in an effort to learn more about how children and their families are being treated at those centers.

On Friday and Saturday, the Democratic senator will visit the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, the Karnes Residential Center in Karnes City, and the Tornillo Children's Detention Center in Tornillo Port of Entry.

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Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) as well as Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA 27) and Beto O'Rourke (D-TX 16) will join her.

The visit follows the recent death of a 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father and was taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol. According to the Washington Post, the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents.

RELATED: 7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest

The girl's death has raised questions about whether border agents knew she was ill and whether she was fed anything or given anything to drink during the eight-plus hours she was in custody.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's administration continues an attempt to ban people from asking for asylum if they crossed the border illegally. A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked that ban, but the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate it Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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