Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.), who was was denied access to an immigrant-detainee facility run by the Health and Human Services Department in his state on Monday, says he felt he had to visit it amidst reports of rape and abuse from children being held in the military barracks.
“All I wanted to do was to talk to who was in charge of the facility,” Bridenstine said.
“Did you say, ‘I’m a member of Congress. Oklahoma’s my state’? Did you tell them that?” Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren asked Bridenstine, and he said he had indeed made that point clear.
When the congressman tried to reach HHS, he said, he couldn’t even get the deputy communications director on the phone. The deputy’s assistant informed Bridenstine that he could e-mail the deputy director.
Bridenstine recalled his response on air: “Well, I’m going to send an e-mail, and it’s going to be a press release indicating that you guys are denying me access to a federal facility in my state, and I’m on the Armed Services Committee. I’m on the Subcommittee on Oversight. The reports I’m hearing that these children are going through — it’s devastating.” (That’s what he did.)
Bridenstine stressed that the issues surrounding immigration facilities, like the one in Oklahoma, directly stem from the president’s policies. “[Obama] has advertised to the world that if you’re a child and you come to the United States of America, you won’t be sent home,” he explained. “And that is what’s happening here. This is a failed presidential policy. It has nothing to do with Republicans not passing comprehensive immigration reform. This problem exists specifically because of failed presidential policy.”