On Monday, the White House issued a statement condemning what it considers “Sen. Jeff Merkley’s political grandstanding” and “blatant lies” regarding U.S. immigration efforts.
In the statement, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley says Sen. Merkley (D-Oregon) has been “smearing hardworking, dedicated law enforcement officers”:
“Senator Merkley is irresponsibly spreading blatant lies about routine immigration enforcement while smearing hardworking, dedicated law enforcement officials at ICE and CBP.”
When CNSNews.com asked the White House which of Merkley's comments and "grandstanding," specifically, it was taking issue with, the White House responded by citing a CBS News story, in which Sen. Merkley says he was denied access to an illegal immigrant detention facility in Texas.
The article quotes Sen. Merkley claiming he saw illegal immigrant children being held in cages:
"When I was at the center at McAllen Border Station, this is the processing center, earlier and I was admitted there and I did see the people, hundreds of children locked up in cages there at that facility," said Merkley, claiming that the federal government was "whitewashing" the challenges of the entrance system.
He added, "They have big cages made out of fencing and then wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can't climb out of them."
Ealier in the day, in an interview with CNN, Sen. Merkley accused the Trump administration of “enormously cruel treatment” of illegal immigrant children.
But, the White House statement contends Sen. Merkley is the one who is endangering children by voting to protect “loopholes used by child smugglers":
“He voted against closing the ‘catch-and-release’ loopholes used by child smugglers, and his reckless open borders policies are responsible for the permanent separation of thousands of American families who have been forced to bury their loved ones.
“No one is taking a public safety lecture from Sen. Merkley, whose own policies endanger children, empower human smugglers and drug cartels, and allow violent criminal aliens to flood into American communities.”
The statement provides, as "background," two examples of women in Oregon who have been sexually assaulted by previously-deported illegal aliens:
"The victims of Sen. Merkley’s reckless open borders policies include his own constituents: a 65 year-old Oregon woman who was sexually assaulted by an illegal alien that had been previously deported 20 times prior, and a young Oregon girl who was allegedly raped several times by a twice-deported illegal alien."