Rep. Nanette Barragán saw children sleeping on the hard ground and babies in filthy clothes at one of Trump's tent cities for immigrants.
Trump is concentrating immigrants in disgusting, "heartbreaking" conditions at a tent city near the El Paso, Texas, border crossing, according to Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA). Barragán shared what she saw in a Monday Daily Beast article.
"We were stepping over people to walk around in the tent," Barragán said. "I was really taken aback by the smell. I was in there for five minutes and I just became nauseous, I hate to say it," she added.
The tent city, consisting of five Army tents meant to be battlefield hospitals, holds hundreds of immigrant families, many of whom are seeking asylum. The Trump administration refuses to allow journalists to visit the tent city.
Barragán visited the tent city in early April, at the time saying she saw babies as young as four months old sleeping on the floor of a tent erected over the asphalt ground of a parking lot.
"The situation is unhealthy," she told the Daily Beast. "People are in a confined space, they're not getting showers, their clothes are dirty, babies are not getting Pampers like they should be. These ladies were crying and telling us their stories and it was just heartbreaking," she added.
Barragán said there were no cots in the tents, and some babies rested their heads on their parents' legs to avoid the hard ground. While officials say they try to offer everyone a shower every three days, Barragán spoke to one mother who had been detained for five days without one.
Advocates for immigrants wonder if the Trump administration is intentionally making conditions almost intolerable as a way to deter asylum seekers from coming to the United States. If it is aiming to deter, the efforts are failing, Erika Andiola told the Daily Beast.
"The fact is that none of this has worked," Andiola said. Families are fleeing horrible conditions and the United States has a choice "whether we welcome them in a humane way, or we torture them for no good reason," she added.
Trump has repeatedly pushed for more cruelty in America's immigration system. For months, he championed a family separation policy that ripped children away from their parents. In recent weeks, he initiated a purge at the Department of Homeland Security in part because of the lack of cruelty towards immigrants.
Abject cruelty directed toward immigrants has been hallmark of the Trump administration. The tent city in El Paso is yet another way Trump is inflicting unnecessary pain upon some of the globe's most vulnerable people.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.