Vice President Mike Pence toured two detention facilities on the Texas border Friday on President Donald Trump’s orders in order to show the conditions weren’t as bad as media reports said.
Not surprisingly, that’s not what happened.
The McAllen Border Patrol stations had hundreds of men that were crowded in sweltering cages without cots, according to The Associated Press. The men said they were hungry, hadn’t been able to brush their teeth, were too packed in for everyone to lie down at once and had been there for over 40 days. There was nowhere to lay down except on concrete. Agents were wearing face masks.
As soon as it was obvious how bad the conditions were, the press pool covering the vice president was removed – within 90 seconds.
According to The Associated Press, Michael Banks, the agent in charge of the McAllen station, said that many of the men had not showered for 10 or 20 days.
The first station that Pence visited was a detention facility where migrants are housed in large white tents with nothing butkindergarten-like mats with thin, tinfoil-like blankets.
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“And while we hear some Democrats in Washington, D.C., referring to U.S. Customs and Border facilities as ‘concentration camps,’ what we saw today was a facility that is providing care that every American would be proud of,” Pence said.
Pence changed his tune after the tour of the second facility where men were packed in appalling crowds with little hygiene. He told the Associated Press that “Congress had to act.”
“They’re crowded because we have a lot of people, but they’re in good shape,” Trump said earlier in the week. He complained about “phony” reporting on conditions by The New York Times.
But the visits showed what media reports from The Washington Post and the New York Times have been reporting for months: a “ticking time bomb,” as described by a senior government manager.