Three Congress members who visited Border patrol facilities on Monday said that immigrant women were being detained without running water, and were told by agents to drink water from the toilets.
The lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, toured the facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas as part of a delegation to investigate the detention centers where immigrants are held, following reports of children being housed in horrific conditions.
Lawyers who visited the Clint facility last week described the situation as horrific, and said that children are taking care of infants and toddlers, and they have no access to soap and toothbrushes and inadequate food, water, and sanitation.
AOC said that one of the women she spoke to described the treatment they receive by border authorities. She said that they get woken up at odd hours and get called ugly names.
Rep. Joaquin Castro said that a group of 15 to 20 mothers were held in a cell that had a toilet with no running water at Border Patrol Station 1 near El Paso.
One of the women told him that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.
Some of the women have said that they have been detained for 50 days, and others had been separated from their children.
Castro blamed the conditions on the Trump administration and said that the issue was not just about funding for the agency, but about the standards of care for detained children and adults.
Rep. Judy Chu described what she saw as appalling and disgusting.
In addition to some women not having access to running water, one epileptic woman said that she has been unable to obtain medication for her condition.
A spokesperson with CBP, however, said that the lawmakers visited two Border Patrol stations in the El Paso sector, but the detained immigrants receive three meals a day and have access to clean drinking water.
The agency said that they take allegations of mistreatment seriously, and any employee found to have violated their standards of conduct will be held accountable.
This is not the first time immigrants have complained about access to running water or having to drink from the toilet, as a group of organizations filed a complaint on behalf of 116 kids who said that they were mistreated in CBP custody in 2014.
Immigrant families detained by CBP made allegations in July 2018 that the food they’ve been given has been spoiled, and the drinking water is unsanitary. The allegations were filed as a part of the Flores settlement agreements, which specifies how long and under what conditions immigrant kids can be held in detention.