The fight continues at the U.S.-Mexico border over the conditions at the facilities where migrants are detained. Vice President Mike Pence says conditions are unacceptable.
Last Friday, Pence went to McAllen, Texas, where he got an up-close look at how detainees in Customs and Border Protection custody were being treated. Pence is the highest ranking member of the Trump administration to visit a border facility. He visited the Donna Processing Facility and the McAllen Border Patrol Station.
Video of his visit shows overcrowding, children lying on cots and at the border patrol station he observed hundreds of men with no cots sleeping on the floor using mylar blankets.
“To be here today, to see the families at the first facility that have been swept up in this wave of migration driven by human traffickers who were exploiting vulnerable families in Central America, was deeply moving,” Pence said during a press conference. “To be here today at this facility and to see that the overcrowding is such to the extent that a temporary facility had to be built.”
Pence added that President Donald Trump called on Congress and negotiated $4.6 billion in additional humanitarian support to provide for what he called a “crisis” that’s overwhelming the system.
“I must tell you, walking through this facility today, I wanted to see the overflow facility — because we asked Democrats in Congress for more beds, and they gave us only a fraction of what the president requested,” Pence said. “In fact, in the first budget that our administration submitted to Congress more than two years ago, we requested more beds then.”
Pence’s visit is a stark contrast from the visit Democratic Party lawmakers made a few weeks ago at the border. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Joaquín Castro and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among the 14 Democrat congressional members who visited two border facilities in Clint and El Paso, Texas.
Among the conditions they saw were women jammed together in holding places, crowded cells, dirty showers and people drinking out of toilet bowls. Castro took photos of the inside of the facility and posted them on social media.
“This is about the preservation of our humanity and this is about seeing every single person there as a member of your own family,” Pressley said. “I am tired of the health and the safety, the humanity and the full freedoms of Black and Brown children being negotiated and compromised and moderated.”
“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 believed them,” said Ocasio-Cortez while testifying before the House Oversight Committee. “I believed these women.”