EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – More than a dozen Congression members made a visit to multiple migrant detention centers across the Borderland on Monday.
The members of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus, led by U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Julian Castro (D-Texas) said they wanted to see how the migrants were being treated while in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Among those on the trip were U.S. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.).
The group of Democrats toured multiple facilities, including the Border Patrol Detention Facility in Northeast El Paso, where they say they spoke with nearly 20 migrant women who shared their experience with CBP in the facility.
“This was them at their best behavior and they put them in a room with no running water and these women were being told by CBP officers to drink out of the toilet,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “They were drinking water out of the toilet and that was them knowing a congressional visit was coming that was CBP on their best behavior telling people to drink out of the toilet.”
Outside the facility, both President Donald Trump and Democratic supporters got into heated arguments with each other. There were times where Trump supporters were seen heckling the Congressional representatives as they were addressing the press.
The Congressional members say they are looking to start an investigation into how these facilities are being run, not just in El Paso, but across the state.
El Paso’s state lawmakers also visited the controversial facility on Monday, saying the alleged conditions inside are direct results of failed federal policies.
Politicians said they saw overcrowding in the station and saw children sleeping on military equipment.
Border Patrol also reportedly told them that some children tried to commit suicide.
Lawmakers say it all comes down to proper funding.
“At the end of the day, the Trump policies are failing,” State Representative Cesar Blanco said. “They are not making us safer, they’re pulling agents from the line and there’s some concern with how the state is providing resources and not meeting the gaps that they’re supposed to be meeting during a humanitarian crisis.”
“It’s also, in our case the state of Texas, using almost $1 billion for enforcement and very little, if any, for these humanitarian needs,” State Senator Jose Rodriguez added.
The lawmakers say they will use the visit to continue advocating for migrant families and immigration reform.