When Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant detention center here Friday, he saw almost 400 men crammed behind caged fences with not enough room for them all to lie down on the concrete ground. It was hot. Some of them claimed they were hungry.
"I knew we'd see a system that was overwhelmed", Pence said, according to the pool report. A short time later, a large surge of Central American children began arriving at the border, and the administration expanded a temporary child facility in Homestead, Fla., and opened a new one recently in Carrizo Springs, Tex.
On Friday, Trump said he sent Pence on the trip to counter what he said were "phony" stories about the state of the facilities from Democrats and the news media while defending the agents working the detention centers.
He added: "This is tough stuff". But ultimately, it underscored each party's starkly warring views about Trump's hardline anti-immigration policies, suggesting they're destined to be a leading issue for the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.More news: People and animals evacuated as raging fire burns 3,000 acres in Maui
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Chabad of Poway in Southern California on Thursday, a month-and-a-half after a gunman killed a woman and injured three others during Shabbat-morning services on the last day of Passover, April 27. "But now I think the American people can see this crisis is real". Squalid conditions at border facilities have drawn widespread concern as the migrant flow across the border has surged to more 100,000 per month this year, at times overwhelming the USA immigration system.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY was among the Democrats who testified.
They had no cots, mats or pillows, only silver polyester blankets.
A patrol agent, Michael Banks, said the men were allowed to brush their teeth once a day. He said it will be created to hold single adults who have crossed the border and have been taken into custody - it will not hold family units or unaccompanied children - and that it will "provide relief for overcrowded Border Patrol" stations as the agency awaits transferring the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.More news: Tropical Storm Barry Creeps Closer As Gulf Coast Prepares To Be Drenched
"Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for, " Pence said, criticizing Democrats' "harsh rhetoric". "They love those people coming across the border". Some said they had been there a month or longer.
Also testifying Friday were Escobar and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., who said federal treatment of migrants has "exceeded a level of degradation we should be ashamed is occurring on American soil".
Pence asked the children if they had food and were being taken care of.
Senior White House Correspondent Pamela Brown asked, "We went to two different facilities today, and there seemed to be a big difference between the first one, where the families were being housed, and the one here where there are single adult migrants". 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".More news: Soccer star Allie Long says her LA hotel room was burglarized