EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — A delegation of U.S. Congress members and Texas legislators is in El Paso and Clint, Texas, Monday to investigate several facilities used to detain migrants.
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) are leading the delegation.
After leaving the facility in northeast El Paso, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) said "there is abuse in these facilities."
Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA-4) said in a tweet that women were sleeping in a small concrete cell with no running water and have gone weeks without showers.
"This was them on their best behavior and they put them in a room with no running water and these women were being told by (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) officers to drink out of the toilet," said Ocasio-Cortez. "They were drinking water out of the toilet and that was them knowing a Congressional visit was coming. This is CBP on their best behavior, telling people to drink out of the toilet."
Other members of the delegation echoed Ocasio-Cortez's statements in a press conference following their tour of the facility in Clint.
"When we went into the cell, it was clear theat the water was not running. There was a toilet, but no water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet," said Castro.
According to a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez, she brought up the issue with superiors and was told officers are under stress and act out sometimes.
"No woman should ever be locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being. They should be given water. They should be given access to basic human rights," said Ocasio-Cortez.
Members of the delegation include:
Congressional Hispanic Caucus members speaking after visiting El Paso and Clint Border Patrol facilities.
Representative César J. Blanco, Chairman of the Texas House Border Caucus, is expected to comment on how the facilities are operating and how immigrants that are in the U.S. illegally that are being detained at facilities are being treated.
CBP released the following statement:
U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector facilitated a tour for members of Congress on July 1. This visit offered an open, frank and transparent discussion regarding our facilities and the challenges we face regarding the continuing humanitarian and border security crisis. They asked questions and heard directly from El Paso Sector leadership on how U.S. Border Patrol is managing the more than 650 percent increase in apprehensions in the sector. Representatives visited two locations (El Paso Station and Clint Station), where migrants in custody receive three meals a day and have access to clean drinking water. Local leadership highlighted investments in additional restroom and shower facilities, hygiene products, increased medical support and expanded transportation capabilities.