Migrants at a southwest Texas detention facility don’t have access to drinking water and face other harrowing conditions, the chairman of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus said in an interview Thursday after leading a lawmaker visit to the center.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said some migrant women at the detention facility do not have access to water, were subsisting on ramen noodles and granola bars, and in some cases, hadn’t bathed in more than two weeks.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facilities are under-resourced and overcrowded, Castro said, arguing that the problems were exacerbated by the prolonged detention of asylum seekers in the U.S. under President Donald Trump.
“Rather than moving [asylum seekers] out of facilities, the Trump administration is paying these contractors [who run the detention centers], some of whom are making billions of dollars, to keep these people there longer and longer,” Castro told the PBS NewsHour’s managing editor and anchor Judy Woodruff. “They need to be moved out of these facilities as quickly as possible, they’re being held way too long, unnecessarily.”
Castro has called for more funding to manage the overflow of migrants in U.S. custody. But he said Thursday that additional money alone isn’t enough to fix the problem. “It’s not just a matter of pumping more cash into a broken system,” Castro said, “it’s also about changing these standards.”
The comments come after Castro, whose twin brother Julian Castro is a 2020 Democratic candidate, led a tour Monday of several detention centers in Texas for over a dozen Democratic House members. He also secretly recorded the conditions, documenting women wrapped in sleeping bags sitting on a concrete floor.
Tess Conciatori is a politics production assistant at PBS NewsHour.
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