Photo: Jeh Johnson
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Democratic members of Congress from Illinois visited Friday the Broadview Immigration Detention Center in suburban Chicago.
At a press conference, Johnson said he had “vivid interactions” with people awaiting deportation.
Johnson, who received an order from President Barack Obama to review the deportation policy, said a more human application of the laws is possible that is “consistent with the values of our society.”
Later Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who accompanied Johnson together with Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Bill Foster, revealed that the secretary entered the cells to inspect the accomodations of the undocumented and hear their personal stories.
“I don’t recall ever seeing a Homeland Security secretary visiting a deportation center. That clearly helps humanize the process and touch the heart of whoever has the job of carrying out public policy,” Gutierrez told Efe.
The visitors were interested in the medicines and clothing available to the detainees and spoke with their families in the visiting area, he said, adding that he tried to console an 80-year-old lady whose son was about to be deported.
“I hugged her and tried to console her for something impossible, the loss of a son,” Gutierrez recounted.
Johnson also met at the federal building in downtown Chicago with a delegation of 14 pro-immigrant activists.