Characteristically mincing no words, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), says what she saw at migrant detention centers in Texas on Monday was “horrifying” (watch above).
The outspoken freshman lawmaker and more than a dozen other members of Congress visited a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) station in El Paso, and later another facility in nearby Clint TX.
Ocasio-Cortez described “systemic cruelty” at the centers, and accused Border Patrol officers of “holding women in cells with no running water and instructing them to drink out of toilets,” reports CBS News.
“There’s abuse in these facilities,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters outside the facility. “This was them knowing a congressional visit was coming. This was CBP on their best behavior. Telling people to drink out of the toilet.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) tweeted that she, too, heard an officer tell a thirsty woman “If you want water, just drink from a toilet.”
The congressional visit Monday “came hours after ProPublica revealed that members of a private Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol officers made insensitive comments about the deaths of migrants and posted sexist jokes about Latina lawmakers” — including Ocasio-Cortez, says CBS.
On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “This has been horrifying so far. It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty [in] a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.”
She said CBP officers laughed at members of Congress during Monday’s visit to the El Paso facility.
CBP, which oversees Border Patrol officers, did not respond to a CBS request for comment on Ocasio-Cortez’s allegations.