Democratic Senate Candidate Arrested After Bringing Blankets, Water to Child Migrant Detention Center

A Democratic candidate vying for a U.S. Senate seat in Maine was arrested Friday morning after refusing to leave a child immigrant detention center in McAllen, Texas.

Zak Ringelstein, 31, said he was at the facility to deliver toys, books, water and blankets to migrant children who were separated from their parents as a result of Trump's "zero tolerance" practice. Ringelstein described the facilities as "[Trump's] internment camps."

Ringelstein's spokesperson for the campaign, Kiernan Majerus-Collins, told Newsweek by phone that he did not know the charges his candidate faced but believed criminal trespassing might be one of them.

Ringelstein showed up to the detention center earlier that morning with a pickup truck full of supplies to deliver.

In a Facebook Live video of the entire account, a group of border patrol agents later met with Ringelstein in the parking lot and told him to leave or face arrest.

"I refuse, I refuse, I refuse to stand by as you imprison children and bring more children by the dozens into this facility … it is wrong," Ringelstein could be heard saying. He repeatedly asked to be let inside and would not leave.

"The children here need a voice, and no one is giving them that voice," Ringelstein said as agents placed him in handcuffs. Immediately after his arrest, a tweet from his account read "Zak is now a political prisoner of the Trump regime."

His campaign spokesperson said Ringelstein planned to stay at the U.S.-Mexico border until Sunday, but his arrest may change those plans.

"In terms of the campaign trail, he will continue to talk about the importance of bringing humanity and decency back into politics," Majerus-Collins said. "He's willing to put himself out there on the front lines for what he believes in, and that's what he'll keep doing."

Ringelstein said on Tuesday that he was suspending his campaign in Maine to fly to the southern border and visit detention centers housing immigrant children who were separated from their parents.

"I refuse to live in an America where separating children from their parents becomes normal," he wrote. "We will seek to deliver water, food, blankets, books and toys to the children imprisoned there."

Ringelstein, a former teacher and an aspiring country singer, announced in February that he would challenge independent U.S. Senator Angus King.

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that halted his administration's separation of immigrant families. That zero tolerance practice resulted in more than 2,300 children being taken from their parents.

The same morning Ringelstein was arrested, Trump wrote on Twitter that "Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections."