Congresswoman tells of 'heart-wrenching' images of children crying alone in cells


Young sobbing children without their parents and families sleeping on cement floors with nothing but thin Mylar emergency blankets were the “tragic” scenes Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) witnessed in a tour of a Texas intake and detention facility for immigrants.

“It was heart-wrenching,” she said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the the Union.” The “images we see on the media really speak volumes to what’s taking place, but when you see it in person, it’s .. it’s .. horrific.”

Lee was one of some two dozen politicians who toured Texas facilities in McAllen and near Brownsville Saturday. They were not allowed to take photos of what they witnessed, she said. Lee said she saw a boy and a girl, both about three years old, crying alone in separate “cells” in one of the facilities.

When Lee asked a guard why the children and families had to sleep on cement, he said: “We just don’t have the resources. I said, ‘Wait a minute, the Defense Department has a lot resources. I’m sure we could find out of that $700 billion dollar budget enough resources to bring cots in or pads for these children.’”

It’s “tragic,” she said. “These people are being criminalized. These are jails. These are prisons. Mothers we talked to had no idea where their babies were, where their children were.”