PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A visit to a detention center in Texas, where parents are still without their children, moved more than a dozen lawmakers to tears.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree was one of those who were given a tour of the McAllen, Texas facility where migrants who entered the United States illegally are being kept. Representative Pingree wanted to see the situation for herself after hearing that children were being separated from their parents, even though President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse the child separation policy.
"We talked to officials and they say, well we're still waiting to hear from the administration about what's going to change and then even worse we heard from a lot of people who made it clear, they don't have very good information about these 2,300 kids and making sure they can match them up with their parents," said Pingree.
Most of the parents Representative Pingree had the chance to meet crossed the border illegally seeking asylum in the United States from places like Honduras and Guatemala. She also visited a centralized processing center where children were being kept.
"We saw everybody there from babies in cribs, to teenage girls," said Pingree. "It just didn't feel like we were in the United States of America."
Congresswoman Pingree says she believes that holding migrants and their children in a prison like settings isn't the answer. In her opinion, the old system of handling asylum seekers is.
"We used to put an ankle bracelet on them and say go out until your court date comes up and then we'll process you and if you're not qualified to stay in this country we're going to make sure you go home," said Pingree. "That worked for a very long time."
Congresswoman Pingree was in Maine briefly before flying to Washington D.C. to meet with other law makers and try to figure out how to reunite migrant children with their parents.