Conflicting accounts of the conditions at south Texas immigrant detention facilities have emerged in the wake of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s visit with other members of Congress on Monday.
The lawmakers visited facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas, and Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets and comments about the experience have stirred controversy.
One of issues is her claim that a detainee told her that Customs and Border Protection agents have forced them to drink out of toilet bowls.
“Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Daily Mail political editor David Martosko pointed out that the toilets in CBP facilities are typically connected to sinks that dispense “potable water,” and wondered “if ‘drinking from the toilet’ meant drinking from an attached sink marked ‘potable water.'”
Ocasio-Cortez confirmed the toilet style indeed included the sink, but then said that sink was not working, so Border Patrol told detainees to drink from the bowl.
Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only one who left the facility believing migrants were being ordered to drink from the toilet.
All this discussion of what kind of toilets are in the facility might be irrelevant, if the information given to Washington Examiner reporter Anna Giaritelli is true.
“This is what happened with the migrant & drinking water from toilet,” a Border Patrol agent told Giaritelli. “She wanted water. Didn’t know how to use the faucet in the cell and drank from the toilet. She never told AOC that we made her drink from the toilet. AOC, of course, changed it. … This was when she was apprehended and brought into the facility.”
As Ocasio-Cortez was leaving the facility in Clint, she told reporters that she did not feel safe from the CBP officers there.