July 12, 2019
Newsweek: Congresswoman Who Visited Border Patrol Facility Recounts Mother Who Asked Why She Was Being Treated Like A Dog
Representative Ayanna Pressley on Friday recounted her visit to a migrant detention center, saying that a migrant mother she spoke to asked her why she was being treated like a dog while being held in U.S. custody.
“Mr. Chairman I cannot unsee what I have seen, I cannot unfeel what I experienced. I refuse to, although admittedly it robs me of sleep and peace of mind,” Pressley said during a congressional hearing on Friday. “But that pales in comparison to the pain felt by families that have been robbed of their liberty, their legal rights, their dignity and some even the lives of their babies.”
Pressley then went on to describe her visit to a migrant detention facility at the southern border. She said that one migrant mother was crying and asked her why they were being treated this way.
“She wanted to be treated like a human being,” Pressley recalled. “She asked me if she deserved to be treated like this. If they deserved to be treated like dogs.”
Pressley’s remarks came during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Friday morning. The topic of conversation was the treatment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border amid reports of inhumane conditions at detention centers.
The committee first heard from a panel of first-term Democratic House members — Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. The three, along with fellow Representative Ihan Omar, are known on Capitol Hill as “The Squad,” and they were part of a group of Democrats who visited detention centers along the southern border earlier this month.
Ocasio-Cortez also gave a passionate testimony about her visits to border facilities in Texas. She claimed that the “cruelty” being exhibited at these detention centers were a result of hard-line immigration policies put into place by the administration of President Donald Trump.
She also submitted the names of 17 women whom she came into contact with during her visit to the detention facilities. These women confided in her that they had been forced to drink water from the toilets.
“When these women tell me that they were put into a cell and that their sink was not working, and we tested the sink ourselves and the sink was not working, and they were told to drink out of a toilet bowl I believe them. I believe these women,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Following the visits made by members of Congress, which sparked a national outcry over the Trump administration’s immigration policies, a Border Patrol agent pushed back and said that lawmakers have not properly assisted the immigration agency during the crisis.
“They’re the ones yelling the hardest that I’m not doing my job while at the same time keeping the resources I need to actually do my job,” a Customs and Border Patrol official told CBS This Morning. The agent also said the situation has impacted his family.
“My daughter has been bullied at school numerous times and even my wife has been targeted at her work. And not necessarily targeted specifically, but of course both of them will be asked questions as to — you know, ‘Is your husband really killing kids? Is your husband keeping kids at a gas chamber? Does he think he’s a Nazi,'” the agent said.