Rep. Torres Cites 'Inhumane' Conditions: Female Migrants Were Drinking Out of Reused Paper Cups...

By Susan Jones | July 2, 2019 | 8:07am EDT
Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) sits on the House Homeland Security Committee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Democrats who visited several migrant detention centers on Monday did not expect to be impressed. In fact, the outrage they carried with them erupted in full view of the TV cameras, as one after another complained about women being forced to drink out of toilets and other alleged degradations.

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) was among the delegation visiting several holding facilities near El Paso.

"I did not see women drinking out of the toilet," Torres told CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday. "However, that is exactly what these women said to us, that there is no running water within the cell except for a flushable toilet.

 

"They were also using reusable throw-away cups, not plastic, but paper cups. You could tell that they had been used for maybe a couple of days because of how they looked. Those are inhumane conditions for adults, but can you imagine seeing babies, seeing toddlers in those conditions," Torres said.

"The world ought to be outraged about what is happening here within our nation, and I call on the world to act and demand better."

Torres said she saw "jail cells, cement jail cells where children are being kept alone in group-like settings. Children that are sitting and sleeping on the floor with an air conditioner going full blast, wearing nothing but the dirty clothes and being covered with a aluminum type of sheet.

“Imagine your child having to live under those conditions. It is inhumane, it is embarrassing, and what we need to do is we need to send every single one of these border agents back to training, because they certainly haven't been versed on what is humane and inhumane."

Torres said she understands that Border Patrol agency is "overwhelmed" by the massive influx of foreigners, many of them families and children from Central America.

She also noted that "resources" -- $4.6 billion -- has just been appropriated by Congress for CBP to improve humanitarian conditions for would-be immigrants.

"However, they have shown very poor, very little judgment on how it is to treat people that are in a desperate condition, that are sick, and they are unable to care for these people.

“I have to say that it is unreasonable to also expect a border agent to have to change a dirty diaper. This is what management needs to step up and ensure that they are given all of the resource that they need," Torres continued.

“If we need babysitters there at those locations, then we should have babysitters to care for these children. If we need nurses there to care for the ill, we should be having nurses there, and if people are so sick that they have to be quarantined away from the rest of the detainees, then they should not be sleeping on the cold floor the way we saw them."

Torres also complained that Democrats were "disrespected when we were there":

We were told that our staffs had to stay outside and that we had to keep either our phones there at the entryway or we had to leave them in the car. Now, I don't trust to leave my cell phone with these individuals that would threaten members of Congress while we are in the process of doing our job.

Let me remind these people that this is our job. Oversight is our job, and that's what we were doing, and to threaten members of Congress, I certainly did not feel safe to be inside this location.

I voiced those concerns, and I also voiced my concern for the safety of my staff that was left outside and who was going to be taking care and ensuring that no attacks were going to be against our staff.

And they reassured us of that, but certainly when we walked inside the facility, there were CBP agents that were taking photos, selfie photos with us in the background. None of us had a cell phone to be able to record these actions by these agents.

But imagine, this is what they are doing to members of Congress in front of their leadership. So you could imagine what happens behind closed doors within these cells to children as young as two years old.

If you're a parent or a grandparent out there, (her voice trembling) I would say look at your child and go hug your child because you would not want a law enforcement agent to treat your child the way we see those kids being treated.

Torres said the most upsetting thing for her was “the lack of respect for human life.”

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