NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other mayors from around the country tried in vain to gain access to a federal holding facility for immigrant children in Texas Thursday morning.
De Blasio said at a press conference that he anticipated being kept in the dark about what is happening inside the facility in Tornillo, near the border with Mexico, where migrant children are being held after separation from their parents.
"We fully expect to not be told the truth, we fully expect to be turned away the way senators and congressmen have been turned away just trying to get the honest truth about what’s happening to these children just as all of you have been doing," de Blasio said.
A video shows de Blasio and others approach a chain-link fence at the facility. De Blasio asks to speak to a supervisor. The video then shows a police officer from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service telling the group that he will allow them to stay outside the fence but that they cannot block traffic or come inside.
"Sir, to my knowledge everyone is unavailable," the officer told de Blasio, according to the mayor's spokesman.
The mayors had wanted to tour the facility, which has several tents, to witness the conditions and check on the children.
Although President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending the policy of separating children from families (a policy that just a few days ago Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said didn't exist), the order doesn't outline what will happen to the families who have already been separated.
De Blasio said separated immigrant children he met at a social services agency in New York City on Wednesday night told him they have no idea when or if they will see their parents again.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed that as many as 700 children are in New York State. But he doesn't know where because the Trump administration put a gag order on the agencies working with the children.
"These children have certainly suffered psychological and physiological trauma," he said.
With the AP
“Sir, to my knowledge everyone is unavailable” - border agent to Mayor when he asks to speak to someone about checking on the detained kids - many of whom could end up in New York City. pic.twitter.com/InYYRYTLfi— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) June 21, 2018
Mayor de Blasio and fellow @USMayors tried to gain access to a tent city holding children who the federal government separated from their parents in Tornillo, Texas. #FamiliesBelongTogether pic.twitter.com/k8RlvODimu— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) June 21, 2018