1. Various, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking an oath
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat - New York:
"Much has been made about the fact that we have said that this is a manufactured crisis and in many ways it is manufactured and that it is wholly unnecessary. It is unnecessary to separate children from their families. It is unnecessary to have a policy to detain innocent women and families that have harmed no person and are legally seeking asylum in the United States of America."
4. Wide view of hearing
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat - New York:
"And these are the women that we spoke to, it is their handwriting. And while we are being asked to speak only to officers, we are not getting the accounts of migrants, of their treatment ,of what they are experiencing. And so when these women tell me that they were put into a cell and that their sink was not working and we tested the sink ourselves and the sink was not working and they were told to drink out of a toilet bowl, I believe them. I believe these women. I believed the canker sores that I saw in their mouths because they were only allowed to be fed un-nutritious food. I believed them when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors for two months. I believe them. And what was worst about this, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities that children being separated from their parents, in front of an American flag."
6. Pull out view of child who died in U.S. detention
"So I'm asking for Jakelin (Caal Maquin) who was aged seven, from Guatemala, who died from sepsis while in our care. She was the same age as my son, when I heard about it. Mr. Speaker, we do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality."
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Andy Biggs, Republican - Arizona:
"Months ago while many of my colleagues were claiming that the border situation was a manufactured crisis we were urging immediate action because the circumstances were horrible. They were overcrowded. They were horrible."
"Have you ever seen a movie where they have parallel universes? Where you're in one world in this situation you're in another world in this situation? Well, that's what I feel like we're in quite honestly. In some of my Democrat colleagues worlds they seem to think that all of a sudden, out of the blue, thousands of illegal immigrants showed up at the border and are just oblivious, oblivious to the yearlong calls by Republicans, and some Democrats, for years for immigration reform knowing that our loose immigration laws are what's incentivizing people to come here and what's causing the crisis."
"Separating children from their mothers and fathers causes damage that may endure for a lifetime. Let me let that sink in. In other words until they die. The Trump administration adopted its child-separation policy intentionally, purposefully as a tactic to deter people from coming to United States and seeking asylum."
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican - Ohio:
"Fabricating stories of cruelty and besmirching the hardworking civil servants who are protecting the border and providing humanitarian assistance does nothing to help solve the problem. Putting a Band-Aid over the border crisis like we did two weeks ago does not fit the root, fix the root causes. (If) Democrats are serious about solving the border crisis then let's address the Florres settlement agreement. Let's address asylum loopholes and the other statutory and judicial constraints that incentivize aliens to make a dangerous journey to the United States."
Democrats who've visited the southern border accused President Donald Trump of cruelty on Friday while Republicans said Democrats were playing politics but doing little to help as the parties clashed at a House hearing over who's to blame for squalid conditions facing migrants detained entering the U.S.
In an extraordinary duel that underscored the political heat emitted by Trump's hard-line immigration policies, four lawmakers from each party who've visited the U.S.-Mexico boundary testified to the House Oversight and Reform Committee about what they've seen and came to starkly different conclusions.
The hearing came as the number of families, children and other migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico has surged above 100,000 monthly since March, overwhelming federal agencies' ability to detain them in sanitary conditions and highlighting the issue as the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns are in their early stages.
"This is a manufactured crisis and in many ways it is manufactured and that it is wholly unnecessary," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., one of four high-profile Democratic freshmen who testified.
They were among a larger group of Democrats who visited Texas border facilities last week and returned reporting overloaded, fetid facilities and said detained women spoke of being told to drink from toilets and eat unhealthy food.
"What was worse about it was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over the facility," she said.
Another congressional newcomer, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said, "We do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality."
Sitting at the same witness table as their Democratic counterparts, four border state Republicans blamed the Democratic Party for the problem.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said comparing the detention camps to Nazi concentration camps - a pointed swipe at Ocasio-Cortez, who has used the analogy - doesn't help solve the problem.
The crossfire was further fueled after the panel's Democrats released a report on 2,648 of the children the Trump administration separated from their families last year before abandoning that policy under widespread pressure.
The report, based on data the panel demanded from federal agencies, found that 18 children under age 2 - half who were just months old - were kept from their parents up to half a year. Hundreds were held longer than previously revealed, including 25 kept more than a year, and at least 30 remain apart from their parents.
The figures reflected "a deliberate, unnecessary and cruel choice by President Trump and his administration," the report said.
Democrats accuse Trump of tolerating badly overcrowded and putrid holding facilities in a purposeful effort to discourage future immigrants. Trump has said many migrants who've fled Central American are "living far better" in detention centers than they were at home and has said the stations are "run beautifully," though visiting lawmakers, attorneys, journalists and the government's own inspectors have reported foul conditions.
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are among four progressive freshmen who call themselves "the squad." The four, all women of color, have tried pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to demand tighter restrictions on the Trump administration's treatment of migrants. The dispute has spiraled into a fight with racial overtones .
Pressley and Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose West Texas district includes El Paso and hugs the boundary with Mexico, also testified.
Also raising political temperatures are Trump-ordered nationwide raids targeting people in the U.S. illegally expected to start this weekend, according to administration officials and immigrant activists.
Government and politics , Asylum seekers , Immigration , Social issues , Social affairs , Political parties , Political organizations , Legislature , Immigration policy , Immigration policy , Government policy
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , Donald Trump , Rashida Tlaib , Nancy Pelosi , Ayanna Pressley , Elijah Cummings , Debbie Lesko , Jim Jordan
U.S. Republican Party, United States Congress, United States government, U.S. Democratic Party