For Immediate Release
December 18, 2018
Contact: Clarissa Rojas
Rep. Barragán Travels to Southern Border to Meet with Maria Meza, Her Daughters and Asylum Seekers
Los Angeles, CA – Yesterday, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) traveled to Tijuana to meet with asylum seekers at Enclave Caracol and the Otay Mesa Port of Entry — including Maria Meza and her children who were previously photographed fleeing tear gas at the border last month.
After spending the morning with Meza and other asylum seekers, she joined Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) at the U.S-México border to investigate reports that the Trump administration is rejecting asylum seekers at official ports of entry. They walked with a group of 15 migrants to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry where they observed the migrants present themselves for asylum. Officials from Customs and Border Protection denied entry to the group of 15. When CBP claimed they were at capacity, Reps. Barragán and Gomez requested to go inside the facility to see the capacity issues but officials refused. Members, staff, attorneys and the migrants, waited over six hours before eight of the unaccompanied minors were finally taken in for processing.
Reps. Barragán and Gomez waited another three hours in the cold before Maria Meza and her family were allowed to seek asylum. The remaining six migrants had to wait another eleven hours before they were admitted.
“Time and time again I have heard from Trump Administration officials that people are free to seek asylum by presenting themselves at any U.S. port of entry,” said Rep. Barragán. “Yesterday, I stood at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and saw migrants, families and unaccompanied minors who fear for their safety, be turned away despite being on U.S. soil. Migrants are told to follow the law but when migrants seeking asylum attempt to do so, they are turned away. It shouldn’t have to take a Member of Congress to observe at the border so that CBP can process migrants like Maria Meza and her daughters.”
Reps. Barragan and Gomez traveled with immigration groups including Al Otro Lado, Families Belong Together and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During her trip, Rep. Barragan also visited her constituent Hector Barajas, a former veteran deported in 2002, who is leading a Deported Veterans Safe House in Tijuana. She also met with Yolanda Varona with Dreamers Moms USA-Tijuana.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.