President Donald Trump brushed off the inhumane conditions migrants are being held in at U.S. detention centers at the southern border, saying that if migrants are “unhappy” there, “just tell them not to come.”
“If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “All problems solved!”
In earlier tweets, he said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers “are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” and he claimed migrants were “living far better now than where they came from.”
The president’s tweets come on the heels of recent reports detailing the horrific conditions that migrants, including children, experience in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General released a report describing “dangerous overcrowding,” prolonged detention and health risks to migrants at multiple Border Patrol facilities in South Texas.
The report from the agency watchdog included graphic photos of extremely crowded detention centers filled with men, women and children, some sleeping on the concrete floor. One cell with a capacity of 41 people held 88 men, one of whom held a sign against the window to investigators saying, “HELP 40 Days Here.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other members of Congress visited migrants held in detention centers in Texas. The congresswoman said that women inside a CBP facility in El Paso were in cells without water and at least one said she was told by officers to drink out of the toilet.
“This has been horrifying so far,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after her visit to the El Paso detention center. “It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty [with] a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.”
Last month, four toddlers were so severely ill and neglected at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, that lawyers forced the government to hospitalize them.
CBP apprehended over 109,000 people at the border in April ― more than double the number of migrants detained during that month last year. A majority of the migrants apprehended were either family members traveling together or unaccompanied minors.