On Monday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) described the horrific conditions she and a group of other Congressional members, as well as House Democrats, saw first- hand as they visited two immigration detention centers in Texas.
After walking through the facilities AOC angrily told the media that Custom and Border Patrol officers were telling women to “drink out of toilets.”
“After I forced myself into a cell w/ women & began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as ‘psychological warfare’ — waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc.,” AOC wrote on Twitter. “Tell me what about that is due to a “lack of funding?” she added.
AOC was part of a delegation of over a dozen House members who traveled to the Texas centers in Clint and El Paso, Texas.
“We came today and we saw that the system is still broken,” said Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, following the tour. “These are the conditions that have been created by the Trump administration. These are the inhumane conditions that folks are facing,” he said.
Rep. Marc Veasey, also from Texas, went to Twitter to share, “we found children barely older than toddlers in cells; families that had been separated from one another; holding centers that were little more than animal sheds, with chain link fences and padlocks used to lock up men, women, and children.”
The reports of the conditions in these two facilities came just shortly after Pro Publica reported that Custom and Border Patrol agents were part of a secret Facebook group called “I am 10-15.” The group had more than 9,5000 members and those members shared jokes about migrant deaths and sexist comments about lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez.
“I see why CBP officers were being so physically and sexually threatening towards me,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets.”
“This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress,” she added.
Castro told the media that the Pro Publica report “shocks the conscience that these agents are entrusted with the lives of anybody in their custody.”
AOC tweeted that while touring the facility the group had encountered 15 mothers, some who had been detained there for more than 50 days living in “indefensible” conditions.
“When we went into the cell, it was clear the water was not running,” Castro said. “One of the women said she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet. These are the conditions folks are facing.”
AOC told the media that she had seen officers laughing at migrants and issued a complaint to supervisors, but she was told that the officers were “under stress and act out sometimes.”
Just last week a bill was passed by the House for $4.6 billion in emergency funding to provide resources and support for the influx of asylum-seekers on the southern border after learning that the facility in Clint was housing minors without providing adequate food or access to soap or toothpaste and other sanitary needs.