- ** GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING **
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez several other Democrats were taking a tour of a facility in Clint, Texas Monday
- Witnesses claimed she screamed at border control agents as they shared a joke standing nearby AOC
- Her visit comes after a Facebook group emerged in which agents posted photoshopped illustrations of her
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has denied she 'threatened' Customs and Border Protection officers on a visit to a facility in Texas Monday.
The freshman congresswoman was accused of 'screaming and yelling' at border agents after allegedly catching them discussing setting up a GoFundMe fundraising page for an officer who photoshopped her face on an illicit image.
During a visit to a Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas AOC reportedly shouted at federal law enforcement agents 'in a threatening manner', and refused to tour the facility, according to two people who witnessed the incident.
'She comes out screaming at our agents, right at the beginning… Crying and screaming and yelling,' one witness said according to the Washington Examiner.
'The agents, they wanted to respond, but they held back because she's a congressional delegate. But when you have someone yelling at you in a threatening manner… They were like, 'Hey, you need to kinda step back.'
A second official claimed that while she was near the agents AOC hit out at them for a Facebook page which was exposed in which officers shared lewd images including a photoshopped picture of her giving Donald Trump oral sex.
'One of the agents laughed at something he was saying to another agent, and she got irate and flipped out,' the second Border Patrol official said.
'Now they're under investigation for it. She took it as they were laughing at her and screams at them and says, 'What's so funny?'
She hit back on Monday afternoon, tweeting: 'And to these CBP officers saying they felt “threatened” by me - They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked my on my tour.
'They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.'
AOC said Monday that illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers detained at a pair of U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations she visited are 'drinking out of toilets' – a claim an agency official quickly denied.
Speaking outside a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, as she left she raged: 'There's abuse in these facilities.
'This was them knowing a congressional visit was coming. This was CBP on their best behavior. Telling people to drink out of the toilet.'
AOC said she 'forced' herself into a cell with detainees and one woman told her officers were waging 'psychological warfare'. The woman said they were often called 'wh***s' by the agents.
The congresswoman claimed officers laughed in response to migrants drinking out of toilets.
The inflammatory statement – including the suggestion that she witnessed toilet-drinking herself – came hours after a news story established the existence of a private Facebook group where current and former CBP agents distributed lewd illustrations of the Democratic socialist congresswoman from New York.
But a CBP official said Monday in the early evening that plumbing fixtures at the locations Ocasio-Cortez visited are standard-issue jail appliances with sinks that dispense safe drinking water attached to toilets in a single unit.
'Of course that's what we have,' the official said. 'No one is drinking toilet water. They're drinking potable water from the sink attached to the toilet. It's what you would find in every municipal jail in the United States.'
A photo filed in a federal court case in 2016 illustrates the setup in a Tucson, Arizona CBP holding facility. The official confirmed that it's identical to what detainees at Texas border stations have access to.
After this story was published, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed on Twitter that '[t]his was in fact the type of toilet we saw in the cell.'
She also claimed 'there was just one' in the cell she saw, and the sink portion was not functioning,' adding that Rep. Ayanna Pressley 'smartly tried to open the faucet, and nothing came out. So the women were told they could drink out of the bowl.'
Her other tweets were contradictory, with some suggesting she witnessed guards offering a toilet as a source of drinking water and others intimating that she heard stories from detainees.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in mid-afternoon that she didn't have photos of what she saw because 'CBP made us check our phones.'
She was one of more than a dozen Democratic members of Congress visiting the border facilities.
A Washington Examiner reporter tweeted that two sources inside the building said the lawmaker 'refused to tour the facility.'
The congresswoman had tweeted earlier that border agents were dismissive and 'physically & sexually threatening' toward her, and claimed in a statement to the press that women in the El Paso facility had no safe water to drink.
'What we saw today was unconscionable,' she told a waiting klatch of TV reporters. 'No woman should ever be locked up in a pen, when they have done no harm to another human being. They should be given water. They should be given basic access to human rights.'
In her tweets she claimed '[o]fficers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.'
'It's not just the kids. It's everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress,' the 29-year-old Democratic socialist added in another tweet.
'I brought it up to their superiors. They said 'officers are under stress & act out sometimes.' No accountability.'
She called the experience 'horrifying' and classed it as 'systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.'
A second member of Congress claimed in an online video that a single detainee in El Paso had told her she was advised to drink toilet water.
'One woman said that the border patrol agent told her to - if she wanted water, just to drink from the toilet, California Democratic Rep. Judy Chu said.
Chu's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Later Monday evening Ocasio-Cortez continued to tweet and shared pictures of women inside the facilities.
'Even if they let you in, these women told us CBP did a lot of 'cleaning up' before we arrived. They were moved into that room from outside tents before our arrival. They said they'd gone 15 days w/o a shower, & were allowed to start bathing 4 days ago (when visit was announced).
'These officers felt brazen in there. While mgmt was telling us it was a 'secure facility' where *members of Congress* had to check their phones, we caught officers trying to sneak photos, laughing. CBP's 'good' behavior was toxic. Imagine how they treat the women trapped inside.'
Alongside a photo of women inside a facility she wrote: 'Here's another photo from inside taken by @JoaquinCastrotx, where we're trying to comfort women trapped in cells. This woman was telling me about her daughters who were taken from her - she doesn't know where they've taken them. We held & listened to them. They were distraught.'
She later added: 'Pro-concentration camp & Pro-Trump protestors tried to drown out our accounts. They yelled at Rashida Tlaib about pork when she talked about facilities. They called Joaquin Castro 'traitor' for denouncing family separation. @AyannaPressley was heroic, speaking truth to vitriol.
'And to these CBP officers saying they felt 'threatened' by me - They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked my on my tour. They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I'm 5'4'. They're just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.'