Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) doubled down and likened migrant detention centers to torture facilities in a tweet posted Sunday night.
The New York lawmaker has been under fire for describing migrant detention centers as concentration camps and using phrases – like “Never Again” – commonly associated with the Holocaust. Despite the political backlash, she is not backing down.
On Sunday, she wrote:
Remember when the Bush administration bullied media into using their devised term “enhanced interrogation” instead of the accurate term “torture?” Well, waterboarding was torture. And these are concentration camps. Journalism should be about the truth. And this is the truth.
The tweet was in reference to an ABC News report featuring a physician, Dolly Lucio Sevier, who witnessed a migrant detention center in person. She compared the conditions to “torture facilities” and described it as “worse than jail.” Ocasio-Cortez seemed to agree with the general assessment.
Sevier had access to the Ursula facility in McAllen and wrote, “The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities,” ABC News reported.
ABC News added:
After assessing 39 children under the age of 18, she described conditions for unaccompanied minors at the McAllen facility as including “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”
All the children who were seen showed evidence of trauma, Lucio Sevier reported, and the teens spoke of having no access to hand washing during their entire time in custody. She compared it to being “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.”
In an interview with ABC News, Lucio Sevier said the facility “felt worse than jail.”
The report did not address the trauma that children experienced on their journey to the U.S.-Mexico border. Many enter facilities with existing physical and emotional issues – issues not created by the facility itself.
More than 5,000 migrants were quarantined due to exposure to mumps and chicken pox in June alone.
As Breitbart News reported:
And the immigrants are not the only ones affected — border officials are suffering too. “Their morale is impacted. They’re tired. A lot of them have gotten sick. They’ve been exposed to flu, chicken pox, measles, mumps — all kinds of challenges in terms of the medical care,” Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan said. “They’re spending time overnight in hospitals instead of patrolling the border.”
Overcrowding is a massive issue. In May, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general found “dangerous overcrowding” at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center, particularly.
“Border Patrol agents told us some of the detainees had been held in standing-room-only conditions for days or weeks,” the office of inspector general concluded.
Breitbart News also reported that “an inspection of the facility revealed that a cell with a maximum capacity of 12 people held 76, one with a maximum capacity of eight held 41 and one with a maximum capacity of 35 held 155 people.”
Additionally, Breitbart News highlighted that facilities in the Rio Grande Valley Sector of South Texas were holding an average of 8,000 migrants per day. The overflow was so massive that Border Patrol requested the construction of temporary shelters and began flying migrants to other processing centers in Del Rio, Texas.
The GOP is placing much of the blame squarely on Democrats in Congress, who refuse to provide funding for additional bed space and other essential resources that would improve conditions.
“We’re doing a lot with what the Congress has given us, but again Congress refused to increase the bed space in the last appropriations bill,” Vice President Mike Pence told Face the Nation Sunday.
“They continue to delay efforts on additional humanitarian support,” he continued.
On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez accused the GOP of supporting the construction of “mass concentration camps on the southern border.”
“Reminder this admin is CHOOSING to round up refugees seeking asylum, fighting to not give children toothpaste or soap & making people sleep on dirt floors,” she tweeted, confirming the left’s position on withholding money that could improve conditions of the overcrowded facilities.
“They say it’s bc of a lack of money,” she wrote. “You know what saves money? Not putting masses of people in internment in the first place”:
The GOP has supported building mass concentration camps on the southern border. Kids & families are dying.
Now they want money for more – w/ ZERO negotiation on how $ is spent.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 22, 2019
Reminder this admin is CHOOSING to round up refugees seeking asylum, fighting to not give children toothpaste or soap & making people sleep on dirt floors.
They say it’s bc of a lack of Ὃ. You know what saves money? Not putting masses of people in internment in the first place.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 22, 2019