MCALLEN, Tex. – When Vice President Pens visited visiting migrant here Friday, I saw almost 400 men crammed behind cellars without enough room for everyone to lie down on the concrete foundation. There were no mats or pillows for those who found a place to rest. A smell of body smell hung in the air.
When the reporters circled the facility before Pens, the men screamed that they had been held there for 40 days, some longer. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was hot, but the only water was out of the fences and they had to ask permission from the border patrol agents to drink.
Pence enrolled two migrant facilities on Friday with Republican senators to protect the administration from a migrant crisis after reports of inhumane conditions at sites
The first center he visited, though not home or comfortable, was only two months cleaner, and allowed Pens to draw a more pink picture of the treatment of migrants held in federal detention. But for Pens, it was much harder to deny what he had seen in the second facility, and instead described the conditions as a result of the migrant frontier, which the administration has been warning for months.
"I was not surprised by what I saw," Pens said at a news conference later. "I knew we'd see a system that's overloaded."
He added, "These are tough things."
The vice-president's office said he specifically instructed the border patrol agencies not to clean or disinfect the facility. besides what is customary, the American people can see overcrowding and scarce resources, such as the lack of beds, and see how serious the border crisis is.
Penns said rude conditions were why the administration recently asked for the Congress to approve $ 4.6. billions to help the border. He said he would urge Congress Democrats to support more funding for beds.
Pens's visit was the last step of the two political parties to use border trips to highlight their case as to who is responsible for the border crisis caused by the sharp rise in Central Europe. American migrants and what needs to be done to fix it. The Republicans accused the Democrats of failing to get involved with legal changes in the asylum system, which would make the flow of migrants easier to manage, while Democrats blamed Trump's policies and rhetoric is insensitive and worsened the bad situation.
Political struggle across the border is likely to be strengthened as both sides are preparing for the presidential race in 2020, where immigration will be a major issue.
Border officers tried to counteract some of the men's claims in the second building visited by Pens. The patrol agent responsible for Macalen's facility said men are allowed to brush their teeth once a day and are given a deodorant after showering. But he admitted that many of the men did not melt for 10 or 20 days because they did not have showers before.
There were no crèches to sleep because there was no room, Banks said. Instead, everyone is given a blanket Mylar. He said they were given three hot meals a day, along with juices and biscuits.
After touring the first building, Pens described a much better situation than the one that was handed over by the Democrats and in the news. He said President Trump wants him out there with media cameras to see for themselves how people are treated.
"Every family I spoke with said that she cares well and this is different from some of the harsh rhetoric that we hear from Capitol. Hill, "Pens said. "Customs and border protection are doing best to provide sympathetic care in a way that the American people would expect."
Pens went around the cave facility built in May to cope with overcrowding where 800 people live. Most lay in kindergartens on the floor, covered with thin, foil blankets. In another room, children, all under the age of eight, sat in front of the television watching an animated Spanish film.
Pens asked the kids if they had food and took care of them. Everyone nodded and some said, "You". Several children shook their heads when asked if they had room for "cleaning."
While Pens walked around the premises, the house committee had a dispute, a partisan. in Washington about how migrants are treated. Repeat. Alexandria Occasio-Cortes (DN.Y.) wanted to swear when she appeared as a witness before the committee to show she was telling the truth when she told the story of a migrant woman who says she should drink water from a toilet because her sink broke
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex) accuses her of playing millions of Twitter followers
Some Democrats describe detention centers as "concentration camps" and say the US government is holding children in "cages".
Pens said it was terrible to hear from children who had gone two or three months to come to America and cross the border illegally, but eventually accused Congress of failing to pass. legislation that will deal with the influx of migrants at the southern border.
The Republicans reacted to Democrats' criticism of the arrest, saying they unfairly abused border agents who did their best in difficult circumstances due to the wave of Central American migrants.
Pens tried to convey this message during his trip here, saying: "I can not be more impressed" with the work done by Cus
Pence goes around the facilities with Republican members of the Judicial Committee the Senate, including President Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.). The Democrats rejected the invitation to go. Also during the trip is acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAllon.
On Friday, Trump said he had sent Pens for the trip to counter what he said were "fake" stories about the state of the facilities by the Democrats and the media while protecting agents working in detention centers .
"These people – I say to you – I was with ICE, and I'm a lot with a border patrol," Trump told reporters before going to Wisconsin and Ohio. "They love people who come across the border. They love them and I saw it. They love them. "
Itkowitz reported from Washington.