Monday, 14 October, 2019

Pence acknowledges 'tough stuff' at border detention center

Trump administration agrees to independent investigation of health conditions for children at border facilities 'This is tough stuff': U.S. VP acknowledges hardships at border detention centre
Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2019, 14:15

"When the men saw the press arrive, they began shouting and wanted to tell us they'd been in there 40 days or longer", the report said.

"I believe these women, " she said. It was sweltering hot, but the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink.

Pence was at the McAllen facility today with several Republican lawmakers.

"People are making billions of dollars exploiting these people", Graham said during a roundtable discussion held just after the delegation had visited the Donna processing center - a soft-sided structure meant to accommodate 500 migrants, but which senators on Friday said contained close to 1,000 people.

Central American families fleeing violence, poverty and drought have been coming to the U.S. in record numbers this year, peaking in May, when the Border Patrol made almost 133,000 apprehensions.

"I was not surprised by what I saw", Pence told reporters.

"I knew we'd see a system that is overcrowded", Pence acknowledged at a later news conference on Friday. "And the facts are that we have a crisis on our southern border that is being driven by human traffickers who are exploiting loopholes in American law to entice vulnerable families to make a long and risky journey north". But ultimately, it underscored each party's starkly warring views about Trump's hardline anti-immigration policies, suggesting they're destined to be a leading issue for the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns. "But now I think the American people can see this crisis is real".

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".

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And earlier this month, the president downplayed concerns about how migrants are being treated at the facilities.

"My family came as refugees because they are Jews". He left before commenting on the conditions at that second center. "Coming here, to this station, where single adults are held, I've equally been inspired by the efforts of Customs and Protection doing a tough job in a hard environment".

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

Michael Banks, the agent in charge of the McAllen station Pence visited, said the men held there were allowed to brush their teeth once a day.

Numerous men had not showered for 10 to 20 days because the facility did not previously have showers, according to Banks, who said it now had a trailer shower.

"We had to come", Pence told Goldstein as he entered and received with a hug by the rabbi.

Pence made sure to mention that even the men in the temporary facility were receiving three meals a day, healthcare, and hygiene. He stressed that he had called for more Department of Homeland Security spending because of the overcrowded situation, including a $4.6bn humanitarian aid package that Congress passed recently.

"Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for", he said, decrying the "harsh rhetoric" of Democrats. "Customs and Border Protection is doing its level best to provide compassionate care in a manner the American people would expect".

Pence first toured the cavernous facility built in May to handle overcrowding, where 800 people are living. There, Dawsey described seeing detainees lying on "kindergarten-like napping mats" on the floor with a "thin tinfoil-like blanket". In another room, children, all younger than 8 years old, were seated in front of a television watching an animated Spanish film. They all nodded, and some said "sí".

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