Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress visited migrant detention facilities on the border Monday, and one tangible issue has emerged in the headlines—toilet water. AOC and at least two other lawmakers say women being held at the facilities told them guards instructed them to drink toilet water if they're thirsty, reports BuzzFeed. "Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities," wrote AOC in one of several tweets about their visit to two facilities. "It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress. I brought it up to their superiors. They said 'officers are under stress & act out sometimes.' No accountability." But US Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings says the toilet claim is false, reports CNN. "Drinking out of the toilet is completely untrue," he said, citing "ample supplies."
Reps. Joaquin Castro and Judy Chu also said they heard the claims about being told to drink from toilet bowls. As referenced in the AOC tweet above, she also claims border officers were disrespectful to her, and a spokesman acknowledged that she confronted some who were trying to sneak mocking selfies with her during her tour. The conservative Washington Examiner puts a different spin on that, quoting an unnamed witness: “She comes out screaming at our agents, right at the beginning [of the tour]. ... The agents, they wanted to respond, but they held back because she’s a congressional delegate." The animosity with officers comes on the heels of a ProPublica report that border guards made demeaning, sexist comments about AOC and Latina lawmakers in a Facebook group. Comments also included jokes about the death of migrants. The CBP has opened an internal investigation into that. (Read more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stories.)