Things That Matter

According to AOC, Agents At Texas Detention Center Are Telling Migrants To Drink Water From Toilets

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been under fire for months for the conditions of migrant detention facilities, including not giving children basic sanitary necessities, leaving out rotting food and providing standing room only conditions for migrants in some facilities.

AOC was on a trip to visit migrant detention centers with more than a dozen other House members Monday, and what they found has left them angered and in shock.

Democratic lawmakers described “appalling” conditions at a migrant detention center they visited in Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Credit: @SFGate / Twitter

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused U.S. border agents of conducting a program of “psychological warfare” against detained migrants who were told to drink water from toilets if they were thirsty.

California Rep. Judy Chu also said on Twitter that migrants were told to drink from the toilet if they wanted water. Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean in a tweet called conditions “far worse than we ever could have imagined.”

The lawmakers were taking part in a delegation organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to El Paso and Clint, Texas, to investigate facilities used to detain undocumented immigrants. Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter she “forced” herself into a cell to speak to women, who described “their treatment at the hands of officers as ‘psychological warfare’ – waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc.”

Upon leaving the facility, AOC immediately took to Twitter to detail the terrible conditions that migrants are facing in these detention centers.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

“Just left the 1st CBP facility. I see why CBP officers were being so physically & sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, referring to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

AOC and other members of Congress pointed out how border patrol agents, ICE officers, and detention facility staff face zero accountability for their actions.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Two Democrats from Texas, Reps. Joaquín Castro, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Veronica Escobar, a freshman representative of the Hispanic Caucus, were also part of the group that toured immigration detention facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas.

“We came today and we saw that the system is still broken,” Castro said at a press conference after their tour. “We are very concerned about the conditions in which people are being kept,” he said, as he and the other lawmakers were trying to speak above the din of protesters shouting, “America First!”

And the shocking report comes at the same time news broke of a secret Facebook group for border agents and their racist and sexist posts.

Credit: @BBCWorld / Twitter

Her tweets came hours after Pro Publica reported that 9,500 Customs and Border Patrol agents had participated in a Facebook group replete with jokes about migrant deaths and sexist comments about lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez. 

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Monday it was opening an investigation into the Facebook group. It reported that members of the group shared a post in which a photo-shopped President Donald Trump is shown to force Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch and another illustration suggesting she engaged in oral sex with migrants.

“Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” said Assistant Commissioner Matthew Klein. He said the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector is beginning an investigation.

Reaction to the congresswoman’s visit to the detention center and the details were swift on Twitter.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

The only way we are going to stop this cruelty is by creating change. And we can all do our part by calling, emailing, texting, or tweeting at our representatives. They have the power to stop this!

And many pointed out that if this is how CBP officers are acting while members of Congress are around…imagine how they act when they’re not.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

“There’s abuse in this facility,” AOC tolda local El Paso NBC station. “This is them on 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.”

Many took to Twitter to express their shock and outrage over the fact that this is happening in the USA in this day and age.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Some drew comparisons between the migrant prisons and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

While many others simply hoped that eventually all those guilty for these acts will finally be held accountable.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

The best way we can hold those accountable is by getting out to vote. And voting not just for a new president in 2020, along with a new Senate, but also getting out to vote for your local representatives at the city, county, and state level.

Be the change you want to see!

READ: Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

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