This is Trump's USA, Trump's border. On 1 July Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the US Congress got to visit the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention centre in Clint, Texas.
CBP did some "cleaning up" before the members of Congress arrived. A group of women, pictured above, told Ocasio-Cortez that they were moved into the crowded room from outside tents before our arrival. "They said they’d gone 15 days without a shower, and were allowed to start bathing four days ago (when the visit was announced)".
The CBP people were openly hostile - a Facebook group including 9,500 out of their 20,000 number has been revealed, which carries openly racist and abusive comment - and made the members of Congress hand in their phones before the visit. But one Congressman, Joaquin Castro, was able to get a phone in.
"The members of Congress asked the women's permission to photograph - they said yes, please share what’s happening", reports Ocasio-Cortez.
Women and children are held in crowded rooms, with little access to washing facilities. They are refused soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and given only sachets of shampoo. When they ask for water, they are told: drink from the toilet.
Men are held in rooms so crowded that it is standing-room only. The same was done by the Stalinists in eastern Poland in 1939, when they rounded up Poles for deportation into the USSR. This is in a rich, supposedly democratic country.
And much of this is done for profit. Many of the USA's detention centres - not Clint, but many others - are run by private contractors, who turn a tidy profit. GEO Group and CoreCivic, the two largest private prison companies, are known financial supporters of Trump.
There are 300 children in Clint. One reason there are now so many children in federal custody is that the Trump administration has threatened to arrest and deport the parents or other adults if they don't have legal status. Even immigrants with legal status are afraid to claim the children.
Lawyer and child advocate Warren Binford told the New Yorker magazine after she and a team of attorneys interviewed dozens of children detained at Clint. “They are not safe, because they are getting sick.” Dolly Lucio Sevier, a doctor, has called the conditions: “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” As of June, two dozen detainees have died in Immigrations and Customs enforce custody since Donald Trump took office.
A "stench” pervades the Clint detention centre - stained clothes, toddlers without nappies, and babies caked in dirt. Fluorescent lights remain on overhead 24 hours a day, the building is often cold, children and adults lie on concrete, sometimes under an aluminium foil blanket, sometimes not.
In June, US government lawyer Sarah Fabian argued in court that the law’s “safe and sanitary” stipulation doesn’t mandate that the government provide detained children with soap or toothbrushes. CBP currently holds 2,000 children in federal custody a day. When local people have tried to donate stuff, CBP has refused the donations.
Nearly 550 workers at the Wayfair company in San Francisco and Boston have staged walkouts outside company headquarters after hearing that the company had taken a $200,000 order including kids’ beds for a contractor known to work with detention centres.
Close these detention centres! Let families be reunited! End the deportations! Legalise the USA's millions of "undocumented" people! Open the borders!
Top picture below: Wayfair workers walk out in protest. Other pics from inside the detention centres.