Lawmakers Visit Immigrant Detention Facilities

"There's abuse in these facilities… This is them on their best behavior." This is what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers witnessed when they visited the border.

AOC Calls out Abuse at Immigrant Detention Facilities

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was part of a group of lawmakers who decried the conditions inside 2 Texas Customs and Border Patrol detention facilities. She was among the Democratic lawmakers who toured a facility here Monday following reports of squalid conditions for detained migrants at the border, overcrowded facilities and thinly stretched resources. She claimed she saw migrants drinking out of toilets, which a Border Patrol official flatly denied, and that she felt unsafe during the visit.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairman Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) led 21 Democratic lawmakers on a tour of the immigrant detention facilities near El Paso, Texas. Castro released photos and video from inside one of the centers. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said in an interview that he had no second thoughts about taking and sharing the images after officials had asked the lawmakers on a facility tour to leave their cellphones behind. He posted the images after visiting a station in El Paso.

The visit came as CBP launched an investigation into a private Facebook group reportedly made up of current and former Border Patrol agents. They reportedly joked about migrant deaths and shared lewd photos of Ocasio-Cortez. Created in August 2016, the Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15” and boasts roughly 9,500 members from across the country. (10-15 is Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody.”) The group described itself, in an online introduction, as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol. “Remember you are never alone in this family,” the introduction said.

The Border Patrol Facebook group is the most recent example of some law enforcement employees behaving badly in public and private digital platforms. An investigation by Reveal uncovered hundreds of active-duty and retired law enforcement officers who moved in extremist Facebook circles, including white supremacist and anti-government groups. A team of researchers calling themselves the Plain View Project recently released a substantial database of offensive Facebook posts made by current and ex-law enforcement officers.