[Pnews] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Other Democrats Reject “Staged” Tour of Migrant Detention Facilities

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 2 12:04:40 EDT 2019


  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Other Democrats Reject “Staged” Tour of
  Migrant Detention Facilities

Robert Mackey - July 1, 2019

_Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez_ resisted the efforts of Customs and 
Border Protection officials to prevent her from speaking directly to 
migrants detained in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, forcing her way into a 
cell filled with women during a congressional delegation visit.

Emerging from the facility, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter 
<https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1145766311794040834> that one of the 
detained women “described their treatment at the hands of officers as 
‘psychological warfare’ — waking them at odd hours for no reason, 
calling them wh*res, etc.”

Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, in Spanish 
<https://twitter.com/KatzOnEarth/status/1145738334305693696> and 
English, that conditions at the facility were unacceptable and condemned 
the behavior of the officers she encountered there. The detained women 
were held without access to running water, Ocasio-Cortez said, and were 
“told by CBP officers to drink out of the toilet.”

The comment set off a furious debate online, as conservative trolls 
tried to argue that a kind of combination sink and toilet 
installed in some CBP cells, which have been described by immigrant 
rights advocates as filthy and disgusting, are perfectly acceptable.

Ocasio-Cortez replied later that the cell she forced her way into had no 
working sink, and the detained women there were instructed to drink from 
the toilet bowl.

    This was in fact the type of toilet we saw in the cell.

    Except there was just one, and the sink portion was not functioning
    – @AyannaPressley
    <https://twitter.com/AyannaPressley?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> smartly
    tried to open the faucet, and nothing came out.

    So the women were told they could drink out of the bowl.

    — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019

As the Democrats left to inspect a second detention facility — a CBP 
station along the Mexican border in Clint, Texas, where detained 
children have described appalling conditions 
<https://youtu.be/BEvXhrMHhvY> — the pro-Trump Washington Examiner tried 
to cast Ocasio-Cortez as overly aggressive. Another member of the 
delegation, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, responded to the report by accusing 
CBP officers of leaking “misinformation,” and described Ocasio-Cortez’s 
decision to break away from the agency’s “staged” tour as entirely 
appropriate congressional oversight.

    . at AOC <https://twitter.com/AOC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> refused the rest
    of the staged @CBP <https://twitter.com/CBP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
    tour so we could talk with 13 detained women in tears over lack of
    access to medicine, showers, their children & basic decency.

    — Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) July 1, 2019

Kennedy added 
<https://twitter.com/RepJoeKennedy/status/1145791291986460672> that 
officials at both facilities were “very resistant to congressional 
oversight. They tried to restrict what we saw, take our phones, block 
photos and video. Atmosphere was contentious and uncooperative.”

Although the CBP pressed the members of Congress to surrender their 
phones before the tour started, at least one camera was smuggled in, by 
Rep. Joaquin Castro, the Texas Democrat and Congressional Hispanic 
Caucus Chair who organized the visit.

    Here’s another photo from inside taken by @JoaquinCastrotx
    <https://twitter.com/JoaquinCastrotx?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>, where
    we’re trying to comfort women trapped in cells.

    This woman was telling me about her daughters who were taken from
    her – she doesn’t know where they’ve taken them.

    We held & listened to them. They were distraught.
    pic.twitter.com/ca1GwKfDfU <https://t.co/ca1GwKfDfU>

    — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 2, 2019

For her part, Ocasio-Cortez said she felt menaced by the officers at the 
El Paso detention center. “I was not safe from the officers in that 
facility,” she told a reporter.

After the visit to Clint, Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. 
Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, 
denounced what they had seen, speaking over a din of abusive comments 
from Trump supporters gathered nearby.

    "What we saw today was unconscionable," @AOC
    <https://twitter.com/AOC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> says during visit to
    border facility. "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 basic access to human rights."
    pic.twitter.com/AcdwvmJQxG <https://t.co/AcdwvmJQxG>

    — Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) July 1, 2019

    The Trumpist protesters were trying their best to pretend they were
    pro-immigrant and diversity, but their mask disintegrated when
    @RashidaTlaib <https://twitter.com/RashidaTlaib?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>

    They yelled about how much they loved pork. When she said she loved
    her country, they called her a foreigner. pic.twitter.com/4gdljhS8Ty

    — Jonathan M. Katz?? (@KatzOnEarth) July 1, 2019

    Rep. Rashida Tlaib had to endure a pro-Trump heckler yelling "We
    don't want Muslims here either," "We don't care about Sharia law, we
    care about Jesus Christ," "Go care about your own country." Video of
    the scene in Clint: https://t.co/kL9tTbXV93 https://t.co/mxv7Bb1SRf

    — Simon Romero (@viaSimonRomero) July 1, 2019

The visit came just hours after ProPublica reported 
that Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers have recently been the target of 
racist and sexist slurs on a Facebook group used by CBP officers.

According to A.C. Thompson of ProPublica, members of the 9,500-member 
secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked 
“about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino 
members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and 
posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 
engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant.”

The agency promised an investigation of the Facebook group. Matthew 
Klein, assistant commissioner for the agency’s Office of Professional 
Responsibility, said in a statement 
that officers are “expected to adhere to CBP’s Standards of Conduct, 
Directive No. 51735-013A both on and off duty, which states, ‘Employees 
will not make abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements or 
gestures, or engage in any other conduct evidencing hatred or invidious 
prejudice to or about one person or group on account of race, color, 
religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. 
This includes comments and posts made on private social media sites.'”

Member of the delegation to the border, including Rep. Nanette Barragán 
of California, and Joaquin Castro, whose twin brother Julián is running 
for president, called on CBP to fire all of the active officers trading 
slurs about migrants and members of Congress on the secret Facebook group.

    The comments made by @CBP
    <https://twitter.com/CBP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> officials about
    migrants and Members of Congress are reprehensible. Under no
    circumstance should United States law enforcement officers use such
    hateful, sexist and racist language. Anyone who was on this secret
    Facebook page should be fired immediately.

    — Nanette D. Barragán (@RepBarragan) July 1, 2019

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