Democratic Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon was visiting a migrant shelter on Saturday at the U.S.-Mexico border when he noticed a pregnant Mexican woman and her family. The woman was 38 weeks pregnant and suffering from preeclampsia and other complications.
Wyden and his staff escorted the woman and her family to a port of entry to make their asylum claim. The nearest port of entry was the Paso del Norte Bridge linking Juárez and El Paso.
According to The Washington Post, the family approached two Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and requested asylum. One of the officers said, “We’re full.”
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But Wyden, who was standing behind the family, stepped forward and identified himself, and then explained how the process should actually work.
Wyden told the officers that Mexicans are exempt from the “metering” program CBP has used to strictly control the number of people allowed to request asylum at ports of entry. He also told the officers the woman was late term in her pregnancy and suffering complications.
The officers called a supervisor and that was that – the family was allowed to go through the port of entry.
“These policies that I’ve seen are not what America is about. And in fact what we saw with respect to the woman who is here today is just a blatant violation of U.S. law,” Wyden told The Post, referring to the pregnant woman.
Wyden’s visit to the border and CBP facilities was tense. CBP officers tried to tell Wyden and his staff they couldn’t take photos or videos, when legally they can.
“Certainly, it looked like it had the potential for not going well. The ACLU folks talked about their legal rights to be able to record the [processing], and one of the officers said, ‘We have a situation,’” Wyden said. “So having done this for a while, those are the kinds of things that concern you and might suggest it’s not going well.”