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Here’s what Mass. representatives said about their experience visiting migrant detention centers

From left to right: US Representatives Lori Trahan, Ayanna Pressley, and Joe Kennedy III.File photos

“Jail-like.” “Hot warehouse.” “Wholly inadequate.”

Those are the words that US representatives from Massachusetts used to describe migrant detention centers after touring them in Texas on Monday.

Joe Kennedy III, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan were among more than a dozen House members to tour the facilities. The trip, organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, included stops in El Paso and Clint, Texas.

Kennedy documented his experience on Twitter, saying that Customs and Border Protection officials were “uncooperative,” and described the facility as having the atmosphere of a jail.

Trahan tweeted about how she saw women “sobbing in a crowded cell because they were separated from their kids.”


Pressley, who had to raise her voice to be heard over the shouts of protesters, said women “wept openly in our arms. . . because of the trauma they are experiencing.”

Pressley also said that she had asked her constituents what message they wanted to deliver in Texas. “They asked me to deliver a message that you are welcome here, and that we love you, and we will never stop fighting for your dignity and your humanity,” she said.

Meanwhile, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, said one woman was told by Border Patrol officers to drink out of the toilet. ‘‘And that was them knowing that a congressional visit was coming,’’ a visibly angry Ocasio-Cortez said in a brief interview. ‘‘This is CBP on their best behavior, telling people to drink out of the toilet.’’

Other members of the delegation described their grim experience visiting the center. Representative Judy Chu, a California Democrat, said in an account posted to Twitter that the conditions at the facility were ‘‘appalling and disgusting.’’

‘‘If you want water, just drink from a toilet.’’ That’s what border patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today’s #DemsAtTheBorder trip,’’ Chu tweeted.


Representative Madeleine Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat, called the conditions indicative of a ‘‘human rights crisis.’’