Migrant camp visit: US VP Pence visits overcrowded migrant camp, deplores 'crisis'

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

Pence traveled to the Mexico border as protesters rallied in several USA cities urging the government to shut down what they call "concentration camps".

The hearing came as the number of families, children and other migrants entering the United States from Mexico has surged above 100,000 monthly since March, overwhelming federal agencies' ability to detain them in sanitary conditions or move them quickly to better housing.

In this his second visit to the region, the vice president said the trip came at the behest of President Donald Trump in the wake of what the president called "slanderous" reporting about federal immigration agents.

The men, who allegedly crossed the border illegally, were crammed into a space where there was not enough room for all of them to lie down on the concrete floor. The men inside the cages reportedly shouted to tell reporters they had been there for longer than 40 days and wanted to brush their teeth. But he also said he saw compassionate care provided by Border Patrol officials while on the tour, something some members of Congress didn't see while visiting similar facilities on the border. "But now I think the American people can see this crisis is real". "It's overwhelmed and that's why Congress has to act".

Pence said the rough conditions are why the administration recently requested and Congress approved $4.6 billion in aid for the border, and he accused Democrats of not supporting more funding for additional beds at facilities for migrants.

"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.

"(This is) a crisis that is overwhelming our system".

A patrol agent, Michael Banks, said the men were allowed to brush their teeth once a day.

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. He said they were given deodorant after showering, but conceded numerous men had not showered for 10 or 20 days.

Earlier in his tour, Pence visited another detention facility with a series of large white tents where most of the detainees were lying on kindergarten-like mats with thin, tinfoil-like blankets. Reporters saw stacks of clothes, water bottles, juice and diapers in the facility.

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

The committee released its own report on Friday, charging the Trump administration's child separation policy is "more harmful, traumatic, and chaotic than previously known".

According to a report published by the committee, at least 18 children under the age of two were separated from their parents for periods ranging from 20 days to half a year. She said they're gathered here to remember the lives that have been lost inside immigration detention facilities and on the border. After taking the unusual step of asking to be sworn in before testifying - something not required of the lawmakers - Ocasio-Cortez said when some of the women being held at the facility said they were told to drink from a toilet because the sink was broken, "I believe these women".

Protests took place around the country Friday calling for the closure of the detention facilities.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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