GOP Congressman Barred From Entering Immigration Detention Facility

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) has been repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to gain entry to an immigration detention facility for children age 13 and under in Pleasant Hill, California, according to a Monday McClatchy report.

He has reportedly been trying for a week to get in. He was given approval on Friday only to have it taken away over the weekend.

“Obviously, we want to know the plan to reunify those kids back with their parents,” Denham told McClatchy from outside the facility’s locked door.

Denham said that the facility’s staff had said that they needed a two-week warning before he could tour the facility. He pushed back, wanting to see the children before Congress is back in session, and voiced doubts about how pristine the conditions could be if the staff needs two weeks to prepare for a congressional visit.

“They knew that we were coming,” Denham told McClatchy. “We knew cameras most likely wouldn’t be allowed in, but if they wanted to show the conditions, and what a lovely facility they run, then why wouldn’t they want people to come in and report on it?”

Denham, who faces a tough reelection contest and criticism that visiting the facility is simply campaign showboating, said that he wouldn’t let the issue out of his teeth and intends to try to get into the center again before Congress is called back to session.

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