You are currently viewing The iceboxes in McAllen: personal testimony

The iceboxes in McAllen: personal testimony

“It’s a room in which there is nothing more than a toilet and some cement benches stuck to the wall. With regard to the food, it was horrible. They gave us a taquito made of an uncooked flour tortilla without any flavor with egg, and the egg was also uncooked, without flavor. They gave us an apple, which was the only good thing, and a carton of expired milk, really gross, because some had been expired for weeks; a bottle of water, but only with the meal, and if we didn’t drink it with our meal, they came by and took them, and filled up a barrel with water, but it seemed like bleach.

It was a very small room and we were a lot of women. We didn’t fit. Some were standing, and I was seated with feet cramped and asleep because I didn’t fit. It was extremely cold, we were freezing, and they didn’t give us even one blanket. And they insulted us and called us “gang girls,” and sometimes around dawn when some of us were sleeping, they would come by and bang on the doors really hard with a stick just to be a pain. And they would yell at us., “Get up, you lousy bums.” And they would tell us this was their country, not a country for us, that immigrants like us came to clean bathrooms and be maids, and that we weren’t worth anything. And they told us that we were going to be deported back to our country, they even told us that no one loved us, that was why they allowed us to put ourselves at risk, to suffer so we could work as maids. And if we asked what time it was, they would give us an incorrect time. We didn’t see the light of day, just locked up in there, and it was really cold. In that place, the only thing I thought about was killing myself. That place is horrible.”

This personal testimony is by a teenage girl, a refugee, whom I’m currently representing. English translation by Melissa Biggs. Thank you.