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"What we saw today, what we did today, is try to bring the eyes, the ears that you all can't have when we go into these facilities," Tlaib said.
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and other Congress members went to two federal immigration detention facilities in Texas Monday to shed light on the inhumane conditions the migrants are subjected to and, also the abuse of power by U.S. border patrol officers.
"I will outwork your hate. I will out-love your hate,” the congresswoman said while vowing to fight against Trump administrations migrant policies. "What we saw today, what we did today, is try to bring the eyes, the ears that you all can't have when we go into these facilities," Tlaib said during a press conference as racist supporters of the U.S. President Donald Trump heckled her.
"Even through the hateful slurs, I won't back down. We went in there to be the eyes for the American people, to tell the truth about what is happening with children and families at the border. This system is broken and throwing money at it won't work,” she later wrote on Twitter.
A little boy not more than 4 years old asked me where his Papa was through a glass door.
An Abuela hasn't seen her grandson in 40 days & has no idea where he is.
A woman, pregnant w/ her first child, just wants to be w/ her family in FL. #CloseTheCamps
Pressley also criticized the racist slurs by Trump’s supporters, saying that they are, "vile rhetoric for vile actions."
"This is about the preservation of our humanity. And this is about seeing every person there as a member of your own family. I am tired of the health and the safety, the humanity, and the full freedoms of black and brown children being negotiated, and compromised, and moderated. We need a system that works, that is humane, and that is compassionate, and that keeps families together," she said.
A father teared up telling me that his wife, 8 yr old daughter & 14 yr old son have been sleeping on concrete floors in a tent for 4 days. They haven't been able to shower, no real food (chips & juice boxes) & so scared of being separated. #CloseTheCamps
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also visited the facilities with others after which she informed that migrants held at a border patrol station in Texas were subjected to psychological abuse and told to drink out of toilets.
“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'", Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term New York Democrat, wrote on Twitter after leaving the El Paso border patrol station.
Other lawmakers like Judy Chu said the facilities were “appalling” and “disgusting.”
"We talked to a group of women detainees who said that they didn't have running water," said Chu. "One was an epileptic and she couldn't get her medication. They were separated from their children. They'd been there over 50 days."
"If you want water, just drink from a toilet." That's what border patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today's #DemsAtTheBorder trip. These are the same CBP personnel who threatened to throw burritos at members of Congress. Changes must be made. #DontLookAwaypic.twitter.com/dW34DRduDA
The tours were organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus days after the Democrats and Republicans passed a US$4.6 billion Senate border funding bill which does not have any safeguards for migrant children caged by the Trump administration.
The Border Patrol also came under fire on Monday following a report by the non-profit news site ProPublica showing how offensive content had been posted on a private Facebook group hosting current and former Border Protection officers.
Posts included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referencing Ocasio-Cortez, the news outlet said.
This moment captures what it’s like for women in CBP custody to share a cramped cell—some held for 50 days—for them to be denied showers for up to 15 days and life-saving medication. For some, it also means being separated from their children. This is El Paso Border Station #1. pic.twitter.com/OmCAlGxDt8
After the congresswomen highlighted the brutality that migrants face in the facilities, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups called for protests at local congressional offices nationwide Tuesday.
"We've seen the images and heard the stories coming out of child detention centers," wrote the coalition, led by MoveOn.org, United We Dream, and Families Belong Together.
"They are the byproduct of an intentional strategy by the Trump administration to terrorize immigrant communities and criminalize immigration."