"Psychological warfare": Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exposes horrific conditions at migrant detentions

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-N.Y. prepares to do a television interview on Capitol Hill Thursday

In the report, inspectors expressed concern over the safety and health of both agents and detainees.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is investigating reports of racist and sexist social media activity by current and former Border Patrol agents in response to a ProPublica report of a Facebook group known as "I'm 10-15".

But the record surge of mostly Central American families at the USA southwestern border has begun to ease after tougher enforcement efforts in Mexico, according to Mexican and US officials.

In one photo, one of 88 men in a cell meant for 41 presses a piece of cardboard against the window, with the word "help".

Conditions at the centers have been a flashpoint since May when the watchdog warned of similar conditions at facilities in the El Paso, Texas sector, west of the Rio Grande Valley, with migrants held for weeks instead of days, and adults kept in cells with standing room only.

Asked by a reporter to respond to her depiction in the Facebook post, Congressmember Ocasio-Cortez said it was, quote, "indicative of the culture" she observed inside the migrant prison she had just visited, and said she did not feel safe around the Border Patrol officers.

According to a news release on Tuesday, agents from the Del Rio Border Patrol Station detained a woman from Haiti shortly after she crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico.

Migrants banged on cell windows and shouted when investigators visited.

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Fifty-one adult females held in a cell designated for male juveniles with a capacity for 40.

The news of more hardship for migrants crossing unlawfully into the United States in desperation, particularly amid the crackdown on entry and on seeking asylum by the Trump administration, came on the day the government's own watchdog decried squalid and overcrowded conditions in border patrol stations for detained adults and children.

Trump has made a crackdown on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda and 2020 re-election bid. Most of the children have since been relocated to children's shelters. CBP rejected the offer.

The medical examiner's report said Wilmer arrived in "respiratory distress". "Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the USA, I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border".

Lawyers supporting Wilmer's family said the boy and his mother were "subjected to inhumane conditions" during their three days in Border Patrol custody, "including exposure to extreme temperatures, being forced to sleep outside on the ground, and other awful conditions of confinement".

Border Patrol chief Carla Provost denounced the "inappropriate" posts in the Facebook group and the CBP, which oversees the Border Patrol, said it had launched an investigation.

The search comes just a week after a father and his almost 2-year-old daughter from El Salvador drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross the border from Mexico to the U.S. The image of the two facedown on the bank of the river has become a haunting symbol of the immigration crisis. Children at three of the five Border Patrol facilities had no access to showers and few spare clothes while two facilities had not provided hot meals, only sandwiches. Some detainees were suffering from constipation after a diet consisting only of bologna sandwiches.

Out of 8,000 detainees in custody at the time of the inspections in early June, 3,400 were held longer than the 72 hours generally permitted under Customs and Border Patrol standards. You can have the best facilities in the world but they are so overstocked. In one photo, women and children appeared to be sleeping on the ground under Mylar (thermal) blankets.

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