Are Border Patrol Agents Forcing Migrants to Drink from the Toilet at Detention Centers?

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alleged that migrant detainees were told to drink water from the toilet by border patrol agents in response to their requests for water. Ocasio-Cortez made a claim via Twitter on July 1.

Democratic members of Congress went to the detention centers during a supervised fact-finding visit to determine if the conditions were as dire as described. The tour of lawmakers included California Congresswoman Judy Chu, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Presley.

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“When we tried the sink, there was no running water. The women [in the detention centers] said, ‘Oh we were told it’s OK to drink out of the toilet – that’s potable water,” said Pennsylvania congresswoman Madeleine Dean.

According to the lawmakers, the conditions in the detention centers were disgusting and not suitable for human beings. Congressman Castro confirmed the allegation stating, “One of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet. These are the conditions that have been created by the Trump administration.”

Cellphones weren’t allowed, but Castro smuggled a device inside the El Paso Border Patrol facility to document photos of the women and the setting. He said women were crammed into “a prison-like cell with one toilet, but no running water to drink from or wash their hands with.”

Rep. Judy Chu sadly said: “I will never forget the image of being in a cell and seeing 15 women, tears coming down their faces as they talked about being separated from their children, about having no running water and about not being able to know when they were going to get out since they had already been there 50 days.”

“A woman talked about being epileptic and not having access to any medicine,” she added.

The experience was life-changing for the lawmakers, and the visit gave them a grim look inside the cruel world of migrant detention centers.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez explained, “After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare. This has been horrifying so far.”


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