Visiting Democrats decry conditions at border facility, see 'scores' of kids 'stacked' in cells
During a congressional visit of the New Mexico border station where seven-year-old Jakelin Ameí Rosmery Caal Maquin was held before her tragic death, Congress member Al Green of Texas said that “the only reason why this facility is still open as it is now is because these cameras can’t get in.”
“Green said he saw scores of children ‘stacked’ in holding cells and huddled in foil blankets on concrete floors, alongside toilets lacking privacy screens,” The Washington Post reported. “’If one of your cameras could get in there, the public would see what we have seen, and we should shut this down,’ he said, ‘or we would restructure it so that we could treat human beings in a decent fashion.’”
Green was among the delegation of House members—all Democrats, and led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)—who visited the facility following Jakelin’s death in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody this month from shock and liver failure. “Homeland Security officials insist U.S. agents did everything possible to save Jakelin,” The Washington Post continues, “and blame her father for bringing the girl on a dangerous journey to a desolate stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border.”
But in a series of tweets, Buzzfeed’s John Stanton reported that according to the family’s attorney, “neither Jakelin Caal nor her father received water between 9:15 pm and 5 am while at the CBP Antelope Wells port of entry. Says members of Congress confirmed this with CBP during their tour yesterday.” Advocates have long been decrying the “wretched” cells that migrants are initially detained in, called hieleras, or ice boxes because of the freezing temperatures inside.