"We needed to see what was happening and tell the country and the world about it", she said.
It came the day after his administration said that it had taken almost 2,000 children away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month, as part of a new zero tolerance policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization.
The politicians said they had authorization from detainee attorneys to visit five asylum seekers who had been separated from their children, but were kept from entering the facility for almost two hours as employees and police denied them entry.
Besides increasing the odds of a broader immigration bill, senior Trump strategists believe that the child separation policy will deter the flow of migrant families across the border.
This post has been updated.
Under the new policy, DHS says about 2,000 minors were separated from their "alleged adult guardians" between mid-April and the end of May, although Sen. The agency, he says, "initially seeks to determine if the child has a parent in this country, and if not a parent a close relative, and if not a close relative a more distant relative or a family friend".
Acosta expressed outraged at the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border.
"What the administration has chose to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children your children are going to be ripped away from you".
However, critics have pointed out that detaining children apart from their parents was a policy announced by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions last month and does not require congressional action to stop.
"We're studying the proposal", said Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, who is viewed as the GOP establishment's favorite in one of the top Senate races. Rev. Franklin Graham, who's typically a Trump ally, told Christian Broadcasting Network that it's "disgraceful, it's awful, to see families ripped apart, and I don't support that one bit".
New Jersey and New York Congressmen hold a news conference during a protest against recent U.S. immigration policy of separating children from their families when they enter the United States as undocumented immigrants, in front of a Homeland Security facility in Elizabeth, NJ, U.S., June 17, 2018. "That is traumatising to the children, who are innocent victims".
One of the Republican immigration bills, a hard-line effort led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), is not expected to garner enough support to pass the chamber. "People are able to understand immediately the drive of parents to protect their child and to understand the horror of splitting up vulnerable children from their parents". These numbers include minors who arrived at the border without a relative and children separated from their parents.
"We understand that our immigration system is broken, but this is certainly not the way to handle it", Brooks said. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Sunday that the number "may well be higher" than that.
Democrats have latched onto the issue and vowed to fight in the court of public opinion, with leaders planning trips to the border to highlight the stories of separated families, already the focus of news media attention.
"I'm looking at both of them", he said.