Twitter | @dmartosko

Women Held At Border Control Facility Say They Were Told To Drink From Toilets

As with any secure facility, it's hard to get a good luck at what's going on inside of detention facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, when we do get a sense of the circumstances of migrant detention from rare photos and even the statements of lawyers working on behalf of the Trump Administration, it doesn't exactly paint a reassuring picture.

So as reports of unsanitary conditions and unsafe treatment leaked out, Democratic members of congress traveled down to facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas to see what was going on for themselves.

On Monday, representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro, Judy Chu, and Ayanna Pressley were granted access to Border Patrol facilities in Clint and El Paso, Texas.

Twitter | @DebbiAlmontaser

As Buzzfeed News reported, they met with various immigrant women, some of whom had been separated from their children and some who had been detained for 50 days.

Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Chu and Castro all reported that these facilities didn't allow detainees access to running water.

Twitter | @AOC

As Ocasio Cortez tweeted, one woman gave her this package of shampoo, which contained all that the women were given to wash their entire bodies with.

She said some had gone 15 days without taking a shower and others were noticing their hair fall out.

In particular, Castro described an El Paso location called Border Patrol Station 1, saying that 15 to 20 women would share one cell.

Twitter | @dmartosko

In that cell was a toilet, but no running water and one of the women told Castro than an agent had told her to drink out of the toilet.

One Twitter user asked Ocasio-Cortez to confirm what kind of unit the sink was attached to.

Instagram | @ocasio2019

They asked if this meant the sink attachment on a unit like this, but she replied that although this unit was used, both she and Pressley confirmed that the sink did not work. So the agent would've meant the toilet bowl.

As the women detained here told Ocasio-Cortez, this was part of a pattern of "psychological warfare."

Twitter | @AOC

As they told it, border authorities would frequently wake them up in the middle of the night to call them whores.

In addition to confirming these concerns, Chu met a woman who shared something troubling with her.

Twitter | @JoaquinCastrotx

Namely, that while she had been staying at the Border Control facility, she wasn't able to obtain any medication for her epilepsy.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter after the visit to summarize her concerns.

Most horrifyingly, she feared that the disgusting behavior she witnessed by CBP officers was them 'on their best behavior' for members of congress, and that what they were doing without supervision was likely far worse.

She also addressed the 'physically and sexually threatening' behavior displayed towards her personally.


This was in part referencing the vulgar post made to a secret Facebook Group for border patrol officers in which Ocasio-Cortez was depicted performing sexual acts with migrants.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that detainees reported a lack of access to water, nor is this the first time they were reportedly told to drink toilet water.

Twitter | @DebbiAlmontaser

As Buzzfeed News reported, such allegations go all the way back to a 1985 lawsuit that resulted in the 1997 Flores agreement, but a 17-year-old girl said in 2014 that the only drinking water she could access came from the toilet tank in her holding cell.

Castro also addressed the common GOP argument that conditions in these facilities would improve if Congress provided more funding.

Twitter | @DebbiAlmontaser

He said that the issue was with the Trump Administration's standards of care for detained children and adults, which he suggested would persist regardless of how much funding the U.S. Customs and Border Protection received.

h/t: Buzzfeed News

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