Dem rep: Tour of migrant detention facilities ‘heart-wrenching’

Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Senior black Democrats urge party chairman to take responsibility for Iowa Lawmakers with first-hand experience using food stamps call on Trump not to cut program MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday compared holding facilities for migrant families to prisons.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Lee recounted her tour of a facility in McAllen, Texas, and a detention center in Brownsville, Texas.

“It was heart-wrenching. The images that we seen on the media really speak volumes to what’s taking place but when you see it in person it’s horrific,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lee said she and other lawmakers were asked not to take photos inside the facility, but said she took notes of her observations. Lee said she saw a boy and a girl, each about 3 years old, crying in cells by themselves.

She also said she saw about 10 mothers with their children in another cell. 

Lee lamented that there did not appear to be cots or pads for the detainees to sleep on, because the director of one of the facilities said they did not have the resources.

“It’s just tragic. I mean these people are being criminalized,” she said.

Bowing to sharp, bipartisan pressure, President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE last Wednesday signed an executive order halting the practice of migrant family separations that occurred under his administration's "zero tolerance" policy. The order came after days of Trump and administration officials saying that only Congress could address the issue.

Trump said during a Cabinet meeting the next day that he and other administration officials were "bothered" by images of the families in holding facilities. However, he argued they were well taken care of.

“We have a situation where some of these places, they’re really running them well, and I give a lot of credit to [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen and all the people that have worked this,” he said. “But it’s still something that shouldn’t be taking place."