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3rd Congressional candidate Lynn Afendoulis tours US Border Detention facilities, praises law enforcement officials who feel hurt by criticisms over treatment of detainees

July 22, 2019

US Congressional candidate, Lynn Afendoulis, who is running for the 3rd Congressional District, just came back from touring some of the US detention facilities in Texas, near the US/Mexican Border.

Afendoulis, who is currently serving as a State Representative in Michigan, had several posts on her Lynn Afendoulis for Congress Facebook page. One post has her in a picture in front of one of the detention facilities with two unidentified men. Here is what Afendoulis wrote, with the accompanying photo:

I’m touring intake and detention facilities in El Paso, Texas today. No one drinks from toilets. That’s not even close to the truth and is a cruel representation of the work being done here by good, hardworking people. Shame on politicians who use these circumstances for their own political gain.

These comments are meant to contradict the well documented horrid conditions at border detention facilities and to criticize politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had a very different experience of the detention facilities recently. In addition, Afendoulis offers no concrete evidence that conditions in the detention facilities are are acceptable, which of course flies in the face of well documented reports, like the ACLU report, Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention

The 3rd Congressional candidate also posted a short video from the airport about her experiences at the border. Afendoulis acknowledges that there are “problems at the border,” but she spent most of the time in the video praising law enforcement officials. Afendoulis refers to these law enforcement officials as patriots who find the criticism and attacks against the treatment of immigrants as “hurtful to them.”

WXMI 17 also did a story with Afendoulis, after her visit to several detention facilities near the US/Mexican border. Again, Afendoulis praises law enforcement  and border officials, saying:

“I’m telling you, some of the hardest working, most dedicated law enforcement agents I just ever met in my life. These people are really dedicated to what they do to securing the border to treating the people that come over the border with dignity and respect and concern.”

Afendoulis also told the Fox 17 reporter that Rep. Amash and members of Congress haven’t done enough to support ICE agents. Such a claim was not challenged by the Fox 17 reporter, although they do ask Afendoulis to respond to reports of abuse and inhumane conditions in the detention facilities. Afendoulis said:

“When you see parents taking the kinds of risks that they take with their children, you know they’re not doing it for frivolous reasons. I have a heart for people who are suffering persecution and need to get to a better place but I also have a heart for this country and doing things, I mean we’re a country of laws as well.”

This statement doesn’t acknowledge that parents who bring their children are coming to the US for legitimate reasons, but Afendoulis ultimately takes the position that the US is a country of laws and that people need to come through legal channels.

Such a statement is not only naive, it completely dismisses the reasons why so many people from Mexico and Central America risks their lives to come to the US – fleeing political violence, poverty, torture, government corruption and the consequences of climate change.

State Representative Afendoulis said she plans to hold a town hall meeting to discuss what she learned at the border, but did not provide specifics on when and where this would happen.

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