Illinois members of Congress visit U.S.-Mexico border to understand impact of Trump's immigration policies

Several Illinois members of Congress visited migrant shelters at the U.S.-Mexico border this week in an effort to investigate the impact of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider were among the more than 20 delegates to travel to the southern border in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

The congressional delegation's two-day trip included touring Casa del Migrante, the largest migrant shelter in Ciudad Juárez, and meeting with U.S. consulate staff, according to Schneider's office.

They also visited the Paseo del Norte Bridge and Processing Facility in El Paso, including the Customs and Border Patrol facilities where migrants are processed and detained, the congressman's office said.

The lawmakers said they found the once packed facilities nearly empty. They said it's because most migrants have been forced to return to Mexico and await asylum under a new Trump administration policy.

The policy sought to prohibit migrants from seeking asylum unless they come into the United States through a designated port of entry. It was rejected by a federal judge on Friday.

"Many of the women that we see, have been raped and abused, and yet the United States of America makes it really, really difficult for us to accept them in our country," said Schakowsky said in a video posted on Twitter Thursday.

During the tour, the lawmakers learned a migrant man had collapsed and died while in U.S. custody in New Mexico.

"I saw firsthand how the cruel actions of the Trump Administration are worsening the situation and increasing suffering. In particular, the policy requiring people legally seeking asylum to remain in Mexico for months while their claim is slowly processed means individuals and families, many with young children, are forced to live in uncertain, overcrowded, and dangerous conditions," Schneider said in a statement.
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