BREAKING NEWS : Minneapolis cop who knelt on George Floyd's neck charged with murder Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Sen. Merkley: Separations rip your heart apart

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tells CNN's Erin Burnett what he saw at one detention center in Texas.

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 11:10 AM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 11:12 AM

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign Monday after accusing her of telling "a lot of whoppers" at a contentious White House press briefing where she defended the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border.

Appearing on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," the Oregon senator, who had spent Father's Day touring Customs and Border Protection processing centers in the Rio Grande Valley, said that "if she's going to tell whoppers like that and keep repeating them, then she simply needs to step down. We need somebody there with integrity."

Asked by Burnett if he was outright calling for her resignation, Merkley said "absolutely, 100%."

"She's not being honest with Americans and it's so absolutely clear," he continued. "She's contradicting her President, she's contradicting her chief of staff, she's contradicting the attorney general and just making up these arguments as she goes. So yeah, absolutely,"

Merkley's demand came after he challenged multiple assertions that Nielsen made during the press briefing.

"She said there's no strategy of deterrence, yet that's exactly what John Kelly and Jeff Sessions argued was the purpose of this, was to send a message to families overseas not to come to America," he argued. "She said this is about smugglers. Clearly when children are safely in the United States they're not at risk of smugglers. That was a whopper. She said this is not being used as a pawn for legislation, yet that's exactly what the President said it was, that this was legislative leverage."

Merkley also claimed Nielsen had misled the public when she said the border was still open to individuals seeking asylum, which he called a "whopper of omission."

"The ports of entry for those seeking asylum have been blocked," he said. "I went out there yesterday with a group of six other members of Congress. We saw the border guard standing there checking papers and only letting those across the bridge who already had visas to come into the United States, or American passports and so forth. They were blocking those who didn't have papers, who would be asserting themselves for asylum. So they're essentially forcing people to cross the border illegally or leave them stranded (on the) very dangerous Mexican side of the border."

Merkley added: "It's a big coordinated strategy to result in tearing, well, children away from their parents to send a political message, or to create legislative leverage. That is not, not acceptable under any moral code, to hurt children and parents in that fashion."

Nielsen denied that taking children away from their parents at the border amounts to "child abuse" and said there are "high standards" at the detention facilities. She also repeatedly claimed that it is not a DHS policy and that the agency is simply enforcing the current law.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
Fulton370
Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox231
Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Angola
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events