Casa Padre is the same facility Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was turned away from earlier this month after arriving unannounced and seeking entry to inspect conditions. In the reception area, a note to staff reads if media approaches “Immediately notify PD,” or the police department.
The shelter has operated in the converted Walmart since March 2017 and, until recently, has mostly served young migrants who arrive in the United States without an adult.
A DHS official put the number of prosecutions for entering the United States — an offense that requires parents and children to be separated — at 60% — nearly doubling what it was earlier this year.
The walls of Casa Padre are covered with American history-themed art and murals of various presidents appear throughout. A painting of President Donald Trump sits on the wall of a cafeteria area. The quote next to it reads: “Sometimes losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”