Rep. Frederica Wilson said Wednesday that officials prevented her from seeing all of the adolescent girls being held when she toured a Homestead, Florida, migrant child detainment facility.
“I was truly concerned about the adolescent girls and, for some reason, they kept shifting my focus and trying not for me to see the adolescent girls, so I demanded that I would not leave until we saw the girls,” the Florida Democrat said on CNN’s “New Day” show.
Despite her efforts, Ms. Wilson said she couldn’t see all of the girls, adding she doesn’t “trust” the facilities to be holding girls going through puberty.
“I saw the girls that I demanded to see, but not all of them. I saw the 17-year-olds,” she said. “Those were the girls that I didn’t see — the 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds.”
Ms. Wilson said children are forced to use a portable toilet outside, and she “saw children crowded in a facility like they were in prison. Overcrowded. Where they slept was like a gymnasium, with bunk beds.”
“It’s jail,” she said.
Ms. Wilson and other Democratic representatives toured three facilities Monday, reporting women were told to drink from the toilet and children were sleeping on the cold floor.
The Trump administration and Republicans have blamed the overcrowding and conditions on an influx of migrants applying for asylum.
Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, on Tuesday said he had “not seen” migrants being forced to drink toilet water, as reported by Democratic lawmakers who toured three facilities, including one in Mr. Hurd’s district, on Monday.
“I think Homeland Security responded to that pretty quickly saying that was not the case,” he said on CNN’s “Right Now” show. “But in all these instances, we should go back to the source and verify the comments and understand the contexts for where these comments came. Nobody should be drinking out of … toilet water, plain and simple, that shouldn’t be happening, but my understanding, I haven’t seen that.”
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