House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday that the heads of border and immigration agencies should face criminal prosecution for what he says is child abuse at border detention facilities.
“This is inhuman. Frankly, I think it’s criminal,” Nadler, a New York Democrat, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“There ought to be criminal prosecutions of some of the agency heads and some of the people for child abuse. This is clearly child abuse. It violates probably half a dozen laws.”
Nadler was commenting on reports from 13 House Democrats who visited a border facility in El Paso, Tex. earlier on Monday. The lawmakers said they saw Central American migrants being held with limited supplies of water.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took part in the visit, claimed that Customs and Border Protection agents told female detainees to drink water from toilets. When asked whether she witnessed such an exchange, Ocasio-Cortez declined to answer. She also reportedly screamed at agents in “a threatening manner” and refused to tour parts of the facility.
Border facilities have been inundated this year with a massive influx of Central Americans applying for asylum to live in the U.S. The surge has stretched the resources at Customs and Border Protection facilities.
Nadler did not say who at the immigration and border agencies should face criminal charges. Kevin McAleenan is serving as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Ken Cuccinelli is serving as acting director of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, while John Sanders is acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.