AUSTIN -- Mayor Steve Adler and Austin City Council members were invited to travel to the Texas-Mexico border Thursday in light of the "zero tolerance" separation policy.

According to a message posted on the council's message board, the United States Conference of Mayors invited Adler and the City Council to join their trip to the migrant shelter in Tornillo, Texas.

USCM said the invitation comes after recognizing the leadership the City Council has shown when it comes to immigration issues.

In the message, Adler referred to the "zero tolerance" policy as a "stark contrast to the ideals of our nation" and called it "immoral" and "un-American."

"It is hurting families without justification, and it needs to change. This a defining moment for our country," said Adler.


'I'm concerned': Austin's mayor speaks to KVUE ahead of visit to migrant shelter in Tornillo

Kids 'are being taken from their parents' arms,' says Austin City Council leader en route to border

American, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines refuse to transport immigrant children separated from parents for government

Immigrant families separated at Texas border: What we know

Gov. Abbott on separating immigrant families: 'This disgraceful condition must end'

Trump says he'll sign executive order to end family separation at border

VERIFY: Families separated at the border in Obama vs. Trump administrations

Fact check: Viral photo of caged child was actually staged as Texas border issues heat up

Council members Delia Garza, Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Greg Casar, Leslie Pool, Kathie Tovo, Ann Kitchen, Jimmy Flannigan, Leslie Pool, and Alison Alter confirmed that they will make the trip. However, Adler did not say if he is going to travel with them.

KVUE's Pattrik Perez will be reporting from El Paso County where the council members are headed.

Casar started his drive to Tornillo Wednesday.

Council member Ora Houston said in a statement Wednesday that, although she does not condone the "zero tolerance" policy, she will not visit Tornillo due to prior commitments.

"As a parent and a child protective service worker in my past life, I do not condone or support any policies or conditions that have the potential of causing physical and/or emotional harm to humans regardless of age. Nor do I condone the practice of separating children from their family group to penalize adults seeking asylum," Houston said in the statement. "That being said, I will not be traveling with the Council to the Federal detention facility in Tornillo, Texas because of commitments with community members that were months in the making. In my experience in the child welfare system, the young people are experiencing fear, trauma and microaggressions because of the travel, the separations and the unknowns. I am sure that my colleagues will provide a fair and accurate reporting of the conditions on the ground."

On Thursday, Mayor Adler and the council members were denied access to one of the immigration shelters. Click here for more information on that story.