A prominent Hispanic evangelical pastor says that the conditions at Americas border detention facilities are nothing like what was described earlier this week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
Appearing on Fox News Tuesday evening, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez said that what he saw at the facility toured by the Democratic House member was “drastically different” from what has been described in the news.
“I read the reports, saw the news clips; I just wanted to see what was actually happening in order to better enable our efforts to find a fair and a just solution to our broken immigration system,” Rodriguez said. “To my surprise, I saw something drastically different from the stories I’ve been hearing in our national discourse.”
“Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border,” Rodriguez added. He is also a senior pastor at New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California.
Rodriguez said that he “found no soiled diapers, no deplorable conditions and no lack of basic necessities” and that border agents “unequivocally denied” that they staged the conditions inside the facility to make things look better: “We were witnessing the identical conditions the attorneys saw when they toured the facility days earlier.”
The pastor, who previously served as an adviser to former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said “what’s heart-wrenching” about the current situation “is that we have both Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress, who can’t come together for the purpose of doing the right thing and finding a solution to our immigration crisis.”
Rodriguez pleaded with political leaders of both parties, in the White House and on Capitol Hill: “Please come together to solve this crisis, immediately.”
Rodriguez is not the only pastor to contradict Ocasio-Cortez’s claims after touring a border facility.
Pastor Kevin Wallace of Chattanooga visited a border facility on Sunday at the invitation of President Trump. Here’s what he had to say about the conditions: “The kids in the place were obtaining incredible care. I never saw one soggy diaper, I never saw one hungry child, there are no cages.”
Wallace added, “It’s not at all what I had imagined based on the reports that I heard.”
The Tennessee pastor also said that he “saw people in that detention center who demonstrated a true care and concern for those children” and that “there was not one child that looked malnourished, that looked unfed, that looked unkempt.”