Published: Sat, July 13, 2019

Pence tour of migrant centre shows men crowded in cages

Pence tour of migrant centre shows men crowded in cages

Pence toured two migrant holding facilities Friday with Republican senators in an effort to defend the administration's handling of the migrant crisis following reports of inhumane conditions at the facilities. Some of the men in there apparently said they'd been there "40 days or longer".

Graham didn't specify how long migrants would be held in detention, instead saying the "Flores decision would be modified so we have more than 20 days". I'm sure you smelled it. It's a tent-like facility that detains about 1,000 migrants.

"The real answer here is not more detention", Pence said. They were sleeping on concrete. Squalid conditions at border facilities have drawn widespread concern as the migrant flow across the border has surged to more 100,000 per month this year, at times overwhelming the US immigration system.

"The facility is overcrowded and our system is overwhelmed".

The hearing of the House oversight committee grew heated as Democrats and Republicans on the panel argued over who bore responsibility for the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at detention centers on the southern border.

Michael Banks, the patrol agent in charge of the McAllen facility, said the men there are allowed to brush their teeth once a day and are given deodorant after showering.

"And while we hear some Democrats in Washington, DC, referring to US Customs and Border facilities as 'concentration camps, ' what we saw today was a facility that is providing care that every American would be proud of", Pence said.

Pence was in McAllen, Texas, at a tent-complex facility that has been open since May, which includes an area for detained children that was described as "cleaner", and another area where almost 400 men were being held in an extremely crowded fenced-in area where the stench was described by one reporter as "overwhelming". "They come, they visit, they visit with Border Patrol, but they never hear from the community, they don't talk to us". Pence attributed the difference to the fact that, due to an overflow of illegal immigrants, a temporary facility had to be established.

Banks conceded that numerous men had not showered in 10 or 20 days but that the facility had added a trailer shower on Thursday.

After visiting the second site, Pence had a more sober assessment.

Last week a report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found children at some Texas border facilities who faced clothing shortages and lacked hot meals, while some adults were held for a week in a cell so crowded they had to stand.

After he toured the first facility, Pence described a much better situation than the one that has been relayed by Democrats and in news reports. Many lay on mats on the floor, covered by foil blankets as children watched TV.

He spoke with parents and children there who told the vice president they were well taken care of.

"Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for", Pence said, decrying the "harsh rhetoric" of Democrats.

As Pence toured the facilities, a House committee was having a contentious, partisan debate back in Washington over how migrants have been treated. "We now have 88,000 toothbrushes", he said.

In that interview, Wise described how migrant children are kept in a "kind of cage-like" processing center.

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