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      <div class="header reader-header reader-show-element"> <font
          size="-2"><a class="domain reader-domain"
href="https://theintercept.com/2019/07/01/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-democrats-denounce-migrant-detention-conditions/">https://theintercept.com/2019/07/01/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-democrats-denounce-migrant-detention-conditions/</a></font>
        <h1 class="reader-title">Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Other
          Democrats Reject “Staged” Tour of Migrant Detention Facilities</h1>
        <div class="credits reader-credits">Robert Mackey - July 1, 2019</div>
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                <p><u>Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez</u> 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.</p>
                <p>Emerging from the facility, Ocasio-Cortez <a
                    href="https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1145766311794040834">wrote
                    on Twitter</a> 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.”</p>
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              <p>Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, <a
                  href="https://twitter.com/KatzOnEarth/status/1145738334305693696">in
                  Spanish</a> 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.”</p>
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                <p>The comment set off a furious debate online, as
                  conservative trolls tried to argue that <a
                    href="https://twitter.com/ReichlinMelnick/status/1145781844157317120">a
                    kind of combination sink and toilet</a> installed in
                  some CBP cells, which have been described by immigrant
                  rights advocates as filthy and disgusting, are
                  perfectly acceptable.</p>
                <p>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.</p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">This was in fact the type of
                    toilet we saw in the cell.</p>
                  <p>Except there was just one, and the sink portion was
                    not functioning – <a
                      href="https://twitter.com/AyannaPressley?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AyannaPressley</a>
                    smartly tried to open the faucet, and nothing came
                    out.</p>
                  <p>So the women were told they could drink out of the
                    bowl. <a href="https://t.co/rcu9Rt6B2x">https://t.co/rcu9Rt6B2x</a></p>
                  <p>— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) <a
href="https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1145837522355924992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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                <p>As the Democrats left to inspect a second detention
                  facility — a CBP station along the Mexican border in
                  Clint, Texas, where <a
                    href="https://youtu.be/BEvXhrMHhvY">detained
                    children have described appalling conditions</a> —
                  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.</p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a
                      href="https://twitter.com/AOC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AOC</a>
                    refused the rest of the staged <a
                      href="https://twitter.com/CBP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBP</a>
                    tour so we could talk with 13 detained women in
                    tears over lack of access to medicine, showers,
                    their children & basic decency. <a
                      href="https://t.co/GjqbulJ7gf">https://t.co/GjqbulJ7gf</a></p>
                  <p>— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) <a
href="https://twitter.com/RepJoeKennedy/status/1145813811938676738?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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                <p>Kennedy <a
                    href="https://twitter.com/RepJoeKennedy/status/1145791291986460672">added</a>
                  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.”</p>
                <p>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.</p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Here’s another photo from
                    inside taken by <a
                      href="https://twitter.com/JoaquinCastrotx?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JoaquinCastrotx</a>,
                    where we’re trying to comfort women trapped in
                    cells.</p>
                  <p>This woman was telling me about her daughters who
                    were taken from her – she doesn’t know where they’ve
                    taken them.</p>
                  <p>We held & listened to them. They were
                    distraught. <a href="https://t.co/ca1GwKfDfU">pic.twitter.com/ca1GwKfDfU</a></p>
                  <p>— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) <a
href="https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1145855501533663232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      2, 2019</a></p>
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                <p>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.</p>
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                <p>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
href="https://www.facebook.com/congressional.hispanic.caucus/videos/414135409182910/">a
                    din of abusive comments</a> from Trump supporters
                  gathered nearby.</p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"What we saw today was
                    unconscionable," <a
                      href="https://twitter.com/AOC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AOC</a>
                    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." <a href="https://t.co/AcdwvmJQxG">pic.twitter.com/AcdwvmJQxG</a></p>
                  <p>— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) <a
href="https://twitter.com/evanmcmurry/status/1145794438272151552?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The Trumpist protesters were
                    trying their best to pretend they were pro-immigrant
                    and diversity, but their mask disintegrated when <a
href="https://twitter.com/RashidaTlaib?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RashidaTlaib</a>
                    spoke. </p>
                  <p>They yelled about how much they loved pork. When
                    she said she loved her country, they called her a
                    foreigner. <a href="https://t.co/4gdljhS8Ty">pic.twitter.com/4gdljhS8Ty</a></p>
                  <p>— Jonathan M. Katz?? (@KatzOnEarth) <a
href="https://twitter.com/KatzOnEarth/status/1145818386351439872?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">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: <a
                      href="https://t.co/kL9tTbXV93">https://t.co/kL9tTbXV93</a>
                    <a href="https://t.co/mxv7Bb1SRf">https://t.co/mxv7Bb1SRf</a></p>
                  <p>— Simon Romero (@viaSimonRomero) <a
href="https://twitter.com/viaSimonRomero/status/1145800700477132801?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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                <p>The visit came just hours after <a
href="https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes?utm_content=buffer58eae&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer">ProPublica
                    reported</a> that Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers
                  have recently been the target of racist and sexist
                  slurs on a Facebook group used by CBP officers.</p>
                <p>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.”</p>
                <p>The agency promised an investigation of the Facebook
                  group. Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner for the
                  agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said
                  in <a
href="https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/speeches-and-statements/cbp-statement-private-facebook-group-activity">a
                    statement</a> 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.'”</p>
                <p>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.</p>
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                <blockquote data-width="500">
                  <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The comments made by <a
                      href="https://twitter.com/CBP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBP</a>
                    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.</p>
                  <p>— Nanette D. Barragán (@RepBarragan) <a
href="https://twitter.com/RepBarragan/status/1145789839851307008?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July
                      1, 2019</a></p>
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