Vice President Pence going to border detention center to dispute image
WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence is going to the southern border Friday to “showcase to the American people what is actually happening in those centers,” his top aide said Wednesday.
“There’s just been such a gross mischaracterization of what’s happening,” Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.
Short referenced Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comparisons of the detention centers with concentration camps, calling such claims “absolutely absurd.”
But the United Nations’ human rights chief said Monday she was “appalled” by the conditions migrants and refugees face in U.S. detention facilities.
An inspector general’s report released last week described the dangerous conditions at overcrowded detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley as “a ticking time bomb.”
And underage migrants held at the Border Patrol’s holding facilities in Arizona have reported poor conditions, as well as allegations of misconduct and even sexual assault at the hands of U.S. border agents, NBC News reported Tuesday.
“The top leadership at border patrol must be fired,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said when tweeting out a link to the NBC report Wednesday.
United Nations weighs in: ‘This should never happen anywhere’
Concentration camps?: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends claim
Report: Allegations of misconduct and sexual assault of migrant kids surface
Pence announced Monday that he and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will visit McAllen, Texas, home to one of the federal detention centers.
Independent investigators for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visited Border Patrol facilities in western Texas in May and found dozens of migrants packed into spaces so tight that some had to stand on toilets.
After visiting five facilities in June, the inspector general released describing dangerously overcrowded conditions. Pictures in the report showed migrants crowded behind chain-link fences in a McAllen, Texas, facility or huddling under blankets on the floor.
Five children have died in Border Patrol custody since December.
After Democratic members of Congress and the Texas Legislature visited a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, earlier this month, they called the conditions they saw inhumane.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and others accused the administration of “willful neglect.”
But President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers have argued that the crisis has been building for months before Democrats agreed to act.
Congress last month approved $4.6 billion last week for humanitarian assistance for the border.
Short said Pence is going to “really highlight what is happening inside” the detention centers because “the comparisons and the rhetoric is just absolutely absurd.”
Ocasio-Cortez has accused the administration of running concentration camps on the southern border.
“Concentration camps are what Nazi’s used to gas Jewish children to death,” Short said Wednesday. “What you’re seeing on our border is law enforcement actually going to the desert to protect the lives of migrants, bring them into safe shelter and help for the children, help to find foster care in the United States.”