As concerns mount over the inhumane conditions of migrant detention centers across the nation, Vice President Mike Pence visited two border facilities in McAllen, Texas on Friday.
The Vice President soon tweeted about the Donna Processing Center, a two month old tent facility, praising the center's "humane and compassionate care."
Toured the Donna Processing Center with @SecondLady and saw firsthand how even in the face of our overwhelmed facil… https://t.co/4By9SZ8PPN— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1562964462.0
Pence, with press pool in tow, was then escorted to the nearby McAllen Border Station. Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey documented the conditions, which stood in stark contrast to the compassion Pence praised at Donna Processing Center.
VP saw 384 men sleeping inside fences, on concrete w/no pillows or mats. They said they hadn’t showered in weeks, w… https://t.co/RzmsOV1H6S— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562972778.0
A few other images from inside: https://t.co/0s7nLXyT3p— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562973298.0
The pictures reveal nearly 400 men in a cage so crowded that there wasn't room for all of them to lie down on the stone floor to sleep—let alone room for cots. According to Dawsey, the stench was overwhelming as many of the men hadn't showered or been given toothbrushes in over ten days. They were hungry and gestured to the press to help them.
The press was only allowed in the room for 90 seconds, but that was enough for Dawsey to see the squalor of the facility.
Agent in charge said there wasn’t room for cots andthe facility didn’t have a shower but got a shower yesterday in… https://t.co/fVbK5oVsG8— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562973695.0
Asked Pence afterwards if he was OK with what he said. On first two times, he didn’t directly say yes or no and sai… https://t.co/bZvWWrCnRI— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562973755.0
The men said they were hungry and wanted to brush teeth. Most didn’t speak English but gestured at us. CBP said thr… https://t.co/xi9Tzf5ViC— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562973965.0
The condition couldn't have been more different than the processing center they'd seen before.
Facility we saw earlier in the day with children was new & relatively clean and empty. There were cots & medical su… https://t.co/1cA00kxm7h— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562974076.0
The Vice President's office later offered a statement.
VP’s office just provided this statement in response to McAllen: “The VP’s office specifically instructed CBP to no… https://t.co/sazOac5YTL— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562977067.0
VP’s office also says Pence wanted press to see the McAllen facility but that Secret Service had concerns about him… https://t.co/XUpZDOqYoF— Josh Dawsey (@Josh Dawsey)1562977149.0
A video of the facility was later released, with many of the migrants wearing face masks to filter the stench.
Inside detention facility in McAllen, Texas where Vice President Mike Pence toured and spoke with migrant families. https://t.co/hVFhE6kRSy— The Hill (@The Hill)1562981271.0
Pence said of the facility:
"I was not surprised by what I saw. I knew we'd see a system that was overwhelmed."
He later said that the facility is an example of why increased border security is necessary, blaming Democrats for the conditions.
The DHS facility in McAllen is a prime example of why we need to secure our borders. The facility is overcrowded an… https://t.co/QBrhLYsfS3— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1562977701.0
People were horrified by the pictures Dawsey circulated.
@jdawsey1 When will the United Nations step in and stop this from happening. Someone has to stop this— Deb (@Deb)1562973792.0
@jdawsey1 @BrianKarem I’ve seen better looking humane societies for cats & dogs.— Bonnie (@Bonnie)1562974812.0
@jdawsey1 These are significantly worse conditions than any jail I've been to. Harris County in Houston Texas is th… https://t.co/7Ke4tlsN0F— Normal Guy Mike (@Normal Guy Mike)1562977981.0
@jdawsey1 The inhumanity is staggering— mamatronic ☮️ (@mamatronic ☮️)1562975588.0
@jdawsey1 @washingtonpost Jesus 😟 This is horrifying.— Angela Reinholz (@Angela Reinholz)1562976242.0
The conditions appear similar to those described by Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and other representatives who visited a detention center in McAllen Texas.
The three testified today before the Congressional Oversight Committee as part of a day-long hearing regarding conditions at the facilities.
Pence ended the day by praising Customs and Border Patrol for its service.
Thank you to the brave men and women of @CBP working tirelessly each day to secure our border. The work you do not… https://t.co/ALSqBiu0sC— Vice President Mike Pence (@Vice President Mike Pence)1562981162.0