Austin Mayor Steve Adler and 7 council members visit border shelter in Tornillo

The United States Conference of Mayors visited the U.S./Mexico border on Thursday. 

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is a member.

“Children do not belong in cages. They don’t belong in cages with or without their parents,” Adler said.

And it wasn’t just mayors. Seven Austin City Council Members were there at the Tornillo migrant shelter as well.  

“I was raised in the Jewish faith and learned the lessons of the Holocaust — for me the images on the screen that I was seeing as a mother made me realize that we were doing the wrong thing as Americans,” said District 10 City Council Member Alison Alter.

“I drove from Austin last night 8.5 hours to send a message of defiance and resistance against the ‘zero tolerance policy,’” said District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar.

Adler assures no quorum rules were broken.

“The law says that a majority of the council is not allowed to meet in an unannounced meeting to conduct business or to be together concerning business and we’re not doing that here,” Adler said.

The trip was planned before President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending family separation at the border. But that didn’t stop the city leaders from coming and demanding the immediate reunification of families.

“It’s good to hear that families aren’t going to be separated but beyond that we don’t know what that means,” Adler said.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said the government won’t tell the truth about what’s going on in facilities like the one in Tornillo.

“We fully expect to not be told the truth, we fully expect to be turned away, the way senators and congressmen are turned away just trying to get the honest truth about what’s happening to these children,” De Blasio said. 

“I’m gonna go and ask to be let in, I’m going to go ask to speak with the kids, I’m going to ask questions my constituents in Austin wanted me to ask about whether or not the guards know these kids names, about whose taking care of these kids so we’re going to go make that request now,” Casar said

The guard wouldn’t let Casar in.

“My district is made of kids like these kids so I’m not going to leave until I have some more questions answered,” Casar said.

“We still have more than 2300 plus children that have been separated from their parents with no explanation as to what happens next,” Adler said.

Council Members Ellen Troxclair, Ora Houston and Jimmy Flannigan were not on the trip. Flannigan planned to go but was unable to at the last minute. Both Council Members Houston and Troxclair had prior commitments to the community.