A month ago, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley tried to visit a former Walmart store in Brownsville, Texas that was being used as a shelter for children separated from their parents at the border. Merkley, a Democrat, was denied entry, local police were called, and the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, which was applied to people seeking asylum as well as those caught trying to cross the border illegally, mushroomed into a political crisis, with protests across the country and a federal court ordering the administration to reunite separated families.
So what happened when Rep. Jeff Denham, a Modesto Republican, tried to visit a similar facility in the East Bay community of Pleasant Hill this week? He wasn’t allowed in either. And now, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, reports that his request to visit detention facilities was turned down by the Trump administration. “What are you trying to hide?” he asked in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “What is it that you don’t want the American people to see? This cover-up is an injustice and an affront to our American values. HHS must open its doors and stop hiding from congressional scrutiny.” Thompson asks a good question: What is the administration trying to hide? Thumbs down.