News & Politics

'They Could Hear the Children Screaming’: Lawmaker Details Trump Administration's Horrifying Treatment of Immigrant Kids and Mothers

"I have worked on immigration issues for 20 years, and this is about as bad as I've seen it."

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) detailed Tuesday night the horrifying conditions of immigrant families who have been split apart by President Donald Trump's administration in a segment on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes."

She described her recent visit to a prison where many of these immigrants are being kept, and many of the immigrants said that the prison was the best place they had been so far, providing a frightening impression of the conditions of the facilities run by ICE and the border patrol.

"They were sitting in a room next to the room where their child was being held in some cases, and they could hear the children screaming for their parents," Jayapal said. "Heartbreaking. And their treatment in the ICE and border patrol facilities was just outrageous. I have worked on immigration issues for 20 years, and this is about as bad as I've seen it."

She continued: "In many cases, they were not given water to drink for five days. They had a sink in their cell, and that water was dirty chlorinated water, and that's what they had to drink. One woman said she was hit twice by border patrol right here just below her eye on her cheekbone."

The women she had talked to, who had their children taken from them under a new policy implemented by Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Justice Department, had not even had an initial hearing to determine if they have credible claims for asylum in the country, she said. This fact is crucial because asylum-seekers have not broken any laws. Yet even if someone has broken the law, it's hard to imagine anything could justify the treatment Jayapal described.

"They are strong courageous women escaping rape, gang violence, murder, political persecution, coming to the United States," she said. "They want to do this legally."

And while the Trump administration has made the cruel choice to separate children from their parents, they apparently have no reliable system in place to make sure they can maintain contact between family members

"Some of the women had been given these little slips of paper, white slips of paper, that had their name and then their kids' names," she said. "And one woman said to me, 'These are not my children.' The names that were listed on the paper were not even her children."

Watch the clip below:

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.