Otay Mesa Detention Facility.
Otay Mesa Immigration and Detention Facility. Photo via detentionwatchnetwork.org

U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris is scheduled to tour the Otay Mesa Immigration and Detention Facility on Friday where she will visit with mothers who have been separated from their children, according to an annoucement from her office.

Harris’ announcement came Wednesday, the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order that is supposed to end the separation of families at the border. Trump’s order came after mounting pressure from those opposed to his administration’s policy of stripping children from parents who cross the border illegally.

Under the executive order, families will be detained together for an indefinite period. It’s unclear if the order can withstand legal challenges: Under a 1997 court ruling, detainees may not be held longer than 20 days.

The order also failed to clarify how it will reunite the more than 2,300 immigrant children who have been separated from their families under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. The administration had maintained that, under the policy, children would not be reunited while parents remained in custody.

Harris, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is expected to meet with reporters after her tour of the Otay Mesa facility. The Department of Homeland Security is preventing journalists from joining the tour, according to Harris’ office.

–Staff