Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pence calls for more funds after touring border patrol station in Texas

Pence calls for more funds after touring border patrol station in Texas

July 13 ― Vice President Mike Pence viewed an overcrowded, foul-smelling facility in Texas yesterday where almost 400 men are detained after being accused of crossing the United States border illegally. The men did not have mats or pillows and some were sleeping on concrete.

"I knew we'd see a system that is overcrowded", he said. But the scene the vice-president witnessed is sure to spark new criticism of the conditions facing migrants in US government facilities.

"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.

"It's time that we moved passed the harsh rhetoric of the American left and move to the facts", Pence said.

The press was removed from the room after 90 seconds.

Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence, along with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, arrived in the Rio Grande Valley on Friday to tour immigration detention centers and hold a roundtable discussion with border agents.

Later in the evening, the vice president and pool reporters with him went to a section of the McAllen Border station with nearly 400 men stood in caged fences. They said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth.

President Donald Trump, a Republican, has made cracking down on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his administration, which is trying to deal with a surge of mostly Central American families crossing the US-Mexico border.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY was among the Democrats who testified.

Republicans have responded to Democrats' criticism of the detention facility by saying they are unfairly maligning border agents who are doing their best under hard circumstances because of the surge of Central American migrants.

"What you saw today was a very clean facility where people were being detained indoors, and then you saw a temporary facility that was constructed because this facility is overcrowded", Pence said.

Pence's comments were at odds with recent statements from Republicans, as well as Trump, who have accused Democrats who have visited similar facilities of exaggerating the poor conditions.

Pence sought to deliver that message during his trip here, saying "I couldn't be more impressed" with the work being done by the Customs and Border Protection agents. Banks said the longest any man had been at the facility was 32 days.

The Trump administration has also been under fire over conditions inside a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, where children were found in filthy conditions and keeping watch over younger kids amid the overcrowding.

"We now have 88,000 toothbrushes", he said. This year, we are on track to apprehend more than one million migrants on our southern border. Facilities to detain adults and children quickly filled up, forcing many migrants to languish in unsuitable Border Patrol facilities much longer than the 72 hours normally required by law.

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