Things That Matter

Amid Accusations Of Detained Women Drinking From Toilets And Sexual Abuse, Trump Says His Guards ‘Love’ Detainees

There are now multiple reports on the conditions in migrant detention centers housing children and adults: overcrowding, people sleeping on floors using ‘solar blankets’ for warmth in centers that were only designed for adult men staying from just a few hours to no more than seventy-two hours, not weeks and months on end.

The drinking water fountains in these facilities are a standard-issue, combination drinking-fountain, and toilet unit. 

The fountain makes up the top portion of the toilet where people urinate and defecate.

This way anyone in need of drinking water must lean over the top of the toilet to reach the fountain in a cell designed for one or two.

This morning in a press conference on the White House lawn, the president accused Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, who visited detention centers in Clint and El Paso Texas last week of lying about conditions. His accusation was made in response to claims AOC made about migrants drinking from toilets at detention centers in her testimony to the Senate Oversight Committee.

‘To have Ocasio say that they’re drinking out of toilets? She made that up, okay?’

‘That’s a phony story. She made it up,’ said the president to reporters.

Trump also stated that ICE agents ‘love’ migrants.

‘I have been with ICE and I’ve been with border patrol a lot,’ he said. ‘They love those people coming across the border. They love them, and I’ve seen it. They love them.’ 

While some are citing inconsistencies in AOC’s Tweets about detention center access to clean drinking water, it is clear that the combination drinking-fountain toilet, and use of the word “toilet” to describe it, could mean that both the president, who has not visited the detention centers, and AOC’s war of words is a matter of semantics.

On July 1, after leaving one detention center, AOC, did report that she was told by detainees that on occasions when the sinks do not work guards have told them to drink from the toilet bowl itself.

Congresswoman Madeline Dean who also toured the migrant detention centers reported similar conditions: “15 women in their 50s-60s sleeping in a small concrete cell, no running water. Weeks without showers. All of them separated from their families.”

As did Congresswoman Judy Chu who reported that women were told by guards to drink from the toilet.

In an interview that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air Tuesday, national immigration reporter for the New York Times, Catilin Dickerson, did not discuss drinking water but she did detail the unsanitary conditions in the centers, or hieleras, as they are referred to by migrants, for their uncomfortably cold temperatures inside.

In the interview with WHYY’s Dave Davies, she discussed how she was told that the temperatures are kept low to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, but Dickerson believes there’s another reason for the low temperatures has to do with the smell created by bad conditions and overcrowding:

“I know that one other factor the agents consider is the smell. These facilities tend to smell really, really bad, and they smell even worse when the temperatures are higher because people aren’t showering. And so their body odor gets worse, and I think that’s a factor as well. And we’re not talking about your standard-issue body odor. I mean, again, it’s emanating from people who haven’t been allowed to shower for weeks, and so agents describe the smell actually seeping into their clothes so that when they go home or they go out into the community, people don’t want to stand near them because that’s how powerful it is.”

It remains unclear whether the president’s attack on AOC is a matter of semantics regarding the combination drinking-fountain toilet.

Or, whether his reasons for accusing AOC of lying is a tactic designed to distract from the undeniably terrible conditions and overcrowding in the detention centers. What is clear is how this issue and AOC have become a Twitter lightning rod.

Brian Tyler Cohen responded to AOC’s  Congress Oversight Committee testimony by quoting her, and at least one hundred people responded in just a couple of hours.

 “@AOC: “I believe these women. I believed the canker sores that I saw in their mouths. I believed when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors. And what was worse was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities.”

Aaron Brodock responded, “That’s what happens when you break the law and enter the country illegally you get held in a detention center not a 5-star hotel! Don’t break the law, don’t enter our country illegally = no detention center it’s really quite simple.”

Many have responded to the situation saying that it’s not illegal to seek asylum.

This, however, women drinking out of toilets, is an absolute disgrace.

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Things That Matter

9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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