'It's traumatic' : Rep. Rashida Tlaib on conditions at the border

PHOTO: U.S. Border Patrol agents watch over immigrants after taking them into custody on July 02, 2019, in Los Ebanos, Texas. PlayJohn Moore/Getty Images
WATCH 'Can't throw more money at a broken system': Rep. Tlaib on border funding

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. said she "absolutely" agrees with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's comparing border facilities to concentration camps in an interview with ABC's "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz.

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The congresswoman from Michigan went on to call what she saw at the border "traumatic" and "inhumane."

Tlaib said acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan’s statements, in a separate interview on "This Week" Sunday, were "so contradictive" of a recent DHS inspector general’s report.

"What I saw was a number of people at 14 -- up to 14 -- in one area sleeping on the floors, a number of them saying they didn’t bathe within 15 days," she added.

The Trump administration, Tlaib said, is "choosing to not allow asylum seekers to go through the legal process."

PHOTO: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib speaks as Michael Cohen, former lawyer for President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27, 2019. Erin Scott/Sipa USA via AP
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib speaks as Michael Cohen, former lawyer for President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 27, 2019.

When asked about her vote against a recent supplemental border funding bill, Tlaib described a moment that occurred during her visit to border stations in Texas.

"Three agents took me aside, away from my colleagues, and said 'more money is not gonna fix this,'" she said Sunday. "They don’t want to separate 2-year-olds away from their mothers. That’s not what they were trained for."

"They signed up to protect the border, not to separate children, not to put people in cages. They all said this is a broken system, this is inhumane," she added.

Tlaib said that she wouldn’t vote for something "that is broken and deteriorated and is inhumane," touting support from her Michigan district.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Tlaib and other freshmen members of Congress, including Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who voted against the additional funding, telling New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. … But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got."

Asked about Pelosi’s criticism, Tlaib defended herself and her colleagues, saying, "It is very disappointing that the speaker would ever try to diminish our voices in so many ways."

"Guess what? We know what it feels like to be dehumanized. We know what it feels like to be brown and black in this country," Tlaib said. "We're not going to stand by and sit idly by and allow brown and dark-skinned children to be ripped away from their parents to be dehumanized."

"All of us have these experiences that I think have been missing in the halls of Congress. Honor that, respect that, put us at the table. Let's come up with a solution together," she added.

Tlaib toured two border detention facilities in Texas on July 1, with a delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee, which Tlaib serves on, will hold a hearing on separations and the treatment of children at border facilities on Friday. McAleenan has been invited to testify at the hearing.