Senator 'choked back tears' seeing conditions of detention camp at the border


Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) was horrified at how the Trump administration is treating migrants at border facilities.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) described overcrowded facilities, a rank stench, and heartbreaking conditions after he joined a group of Democrats on a visit to border facilities on Friday.

"They are all fleeing violence. Seeking refuge. This is not how we should be treating them," Schatz wrote on Twitter after his visit. "I broke down at the end of the day."

On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led a delegation of 13 Democrats to investigate and inspect border facilities in Texas. Schatz was one of the members of that group.

He shared the heartbreaking details of his visit on Twitter.

Schatz said he spoke to a group of men through a chain-link fence. They told him they were only allowed to shower every three to five days. Many of the men had been at the facility for more than 40 days.

"They are drinking heavily chlorinated water, even though there was running water and bottled water in the facility," Schatz said.

The most gut-wrenching stories he shared were about the children he met.

One lady with a 5 yr old daughter from El Salvador. They left because kids were being kidnapped at the elementary school. The daughter seemed ok and I asked her if she was hungry. She said no, she told me just ate.


Then I heard from the mom. Her daughter is actually not eating.


Then I realized she’s traumatized from the 35 day journey on foot, and her two sisters stayed home. I choked back tears.

The teenagers he met reminded him of his own children.

"But they looked exhausted," he said. "It was the eyes."

Schatz also spoke in broken Spanish to a group of fathers being held at a facility.

"One lost his other son in the violence in Honduras and his nine year old looked scared," Schatz said.

The details Schatz shared line up with recent news stories about the inhumane conditions at border facilities.

At a recent hearing, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) lamented the fact that there are children "sitting in their own feces."

Children are being forced to sleep on concrete floors, eat uncooked frozen meals and are being denied basic necessities, such as soap and toothbrushes.

This abuse will likely leave lasting scars, according to doctors. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also warned "there is damage being done every day" children continue to be held in these conditions.

After spending time at the facilities in Texas, Schatz walked away with a sobering conclusion.

"The cruelty is the point," he said. "And it comes from the most powerful person in the world."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.