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PoliticsMike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions

13:50  12 july  2019
13:50  12 july  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Protesters turn out ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Texas detention center

Protesters turn out ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Texas detention center Vice President Mike Pence comes to the Texas border to counter reports of immigrants being mistreated in U.S. custody.

Mike Pence will tour a migrant detention center while House Democrats host a hearing about the centers featuring Rep. Pence says TV welcome: VP defends conditions at border centers, says he'll bring cameras on tour. ‘They tore out a piece of my heart’: Migrant mother describes toddler’s

Border : Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry ' unconscionable ' conditions . Texas Democrats were ready with reaction. “John Cornyn and Mike Pence are two peas in the same Trump Republican pod," said party spokesman Abhi Rahman.

Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

WASHINGTON – Two events today more than 1,700 miles apart will put on display the deep divisions over the worsening migrant crisis at the southern U.S. border.

Battling to shape public perceptions of the worsening migrant crisis at the southern U.S. border, Vice President Mike Pence and a group of Republican senators will head to the border to tour a migrant detention center while Democrats host a high-profile hearing about the centers featuring testimony from government watchdog officials and some of their most outspoken members, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Democrats push back on Pence's description of border facility

Democrats push back on Pence's description of border facility Pence pushed back against Democrats' claims of a "manufactured crisis" and defended border agents . "This is tough stuff, Pence said. "And when we have overflow, as we do in an overwhelmed system, the need for those temporary facilities is evident." But the images stood in stark contrast to a center for migrant families that the vice president visited earlier in the day where he said they were being properly cared for. "One of the mothers just told me when I ask her how are you being treated here, she said 'very good.' That's what the American people expect," Pence said. © VERONICA CARDENAS / REUTERS U.S.

Vice President Mike Pence toured two Border Patrol facilities on Friday, later saying they were “providing care that every American would be proud Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against reports of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at migrant detention centers after visiting two

More: Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry ' unconscionable ' conditions . More:'A lot more needs to be done for them': Ex-CBP chief explains why he left the Trump administration, report says.

The dueling events will put all eyes — and TV cameras – on conditions at the facilities, which have drawn intense scrutiny due to reports chronicling severe overcrowding and inadequate care for migrant families. All of this comes against the backdrop of the deaths of at least six migrant children who have died in federal custody and nationwide raids expected this weekend by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would leave even more undocumented migrants in federal custody.

Pence says TV welcome: VP defends conditions at border centers, says he'll bring cameras on tour

‘They tore out a piece of my heart’: Migrant mother describes toddler’s illness, death

Pence, senators tour detention center

Democrats have expressed outrage over what they say is inhumane treatment of migrant families.

Vice President Pence to visit border amid outcry over conditions at migrant detention centers

Vice President Pence to visit border amid outcry over conditions at migrant detention centers Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to the southern border Friday, the same day that House Democrats are holding a hearing on migrant detention centers.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday acknowledged that "of course" toothbrushes, blankets and medicine are necessary basics for children -- despite the Trump administration's legal argument earlier this week that detained migrant children didn't Tapper presses Pence on children's border facilities .

A group of over 20 House Democrats will visit the US-Mexico border on Thursday and Friday, making it the largest site visit yet by members of Congress Also this month, a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats went to McAllen, and Vice President Mike Pence visited two facilities in the Rio

But Pence and Republican senators want to push back on those criticisms. They contend that the border facilities have become overwhelmed because Democrats have refused to work with them on policies that would stem the flow of migrants across the border. Pence has criticized lawmakers such as Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who have compared the detention facilities to concentration camps.

"It is really contemptible that some in Congress have referred to U.S. detention facilities as concentration camps,” Pence told reporters Wednesday during a trip to California. “That's an outrage. The Nazis killed people. Our Customs and Border Protection personnel save lives every day."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., said he visited a detention facility in McAllen, Texas — the same Pence will tour with a handful of senators today, and said that the crisis along the border "was worse than I've ever seen it," noting that the packed cells he saw were built for 300 people but housing about 1,100.

Drawings by Migrant Children Depict Conditions In Border Patrol Detention Facilities

Drawings by Migrant Children Depict Conditions In Border Patrol Detention Facilities In one drawing, five people lie in a cage covered by blankets while guards man the exits . In another, five stick figures stand inside a cage, while guards watch from the other side. The drawings were sent to the incoming president of the AAP, Dr. Sara Goza, by an unidentified mental health clinician and social worker specializing in Latino child trauma, the academy says. The AAP tells TIME that the three drawings were created by a 10-year-old Guatemalan boy, an 11-year-old Guatemalan child and a third child identified only as 10 years old.

Locking up children is nothing new in US. Call to ship migrant kids to base used for internment is causing Japanese Americans to say 'never again.' Imagine young children locked up away from their parents.” POLITICS: Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry

Democrats push back on Pence 's description of border facility : Pence targets Ocasio-Cortez's concentration camp comments in remarks to pro-Israel Vice President Mike Pence comes to the Texas border to counter reports of immigrants being National Republicans were quick to push back .

"The crisis has gotten materially worse in significant part because congressional Democrats keep galloping to the left on immigration so that as a policy matter, they essentially support open borders," Cruz said. "Until we close the loopholes, a lot more children will be victimized."

While Cruz highlighted the worsening conditions in such centers, Pence vowed to bring along TV cameras as he toured the facility in McAllen, Texas and said Thursday the aim of the visit with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee was to show people a facility and level of care that would "make the American people proud."

"What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described but actually a situation where our CBP agents are providing humanitarian care, health care, shelter, food, sustenance in a way that would make the American people proud," Pence said Thursday.

Pence noted Wednesday that the detention centers are "overwhelmed" because “our system was simply never designed to deal with this" and said, "we’re going to lean into this crisis."

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custody

Lawmaker describes 'unacceptable' border detention conditions, meets with US citizen in Border Patrol custody A U.S. lawmaker described 'unacceptable' border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen in Border Patrol custody.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., agreed and criticized planned House testimony from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, a freshmen Democrat from New York who has become a progressive star on social media.

"Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez's opinion counts, just not to me. She can't be objective on this issue," he said. "I think her mind is made up and I don't think any amount of testimony would change her mind. I don't think she understands the problem and I question her judgment. I think she's more famous than wise."

Democrats highlight Ocasio-Cortez in hearing about migrant centers

While Republicans are touring, Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee will put the spotlight on the Trump administration and discuss the treatment of migrants.

Despite Republican attacks on Ocasio-Cortez, House Democrats will make her one of the stars of Friday's hearing on the conditions of the centers.

She, along with Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, will testify before the committee about their visit to the border earlier this month, where they toured a detention facility in Clint, Texas and met with families who said they had been separated. The congresswomen bashed the facility after the tour, telling a large swath of reporters that the conditions of the center were horrid.

'Help': Photos show hundreds of migrants, children crammed in overflowing border facilities

'Help': Photos show hundreds of migrants, children crammed in overflowing border facilities One senior manager at a facility called the situation a "ticking time bomb." Migrants banged on cell windows and pressed notes against the plexiglass.

AP Domestic Girl recalls poor care in Texas border station A young girl described her treatment while locked in a Texas border station where hundreds of other migrant children have been detained this year. (July 1)

Ocasio-Cortez called it "unconscionable," saying, "no woman should ever be locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being."

Detained women who spoke with the lawmakers during the visit “all began sobbing,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, “out of fear of being punished, out of sickness, out of desperation, lack of sleep, trauma, despair.”

The Border Patrol facility in Clint made headlines after a group of lawyers who had spent time there went public with their findings, detailing children sleeping on floors and being held without access to medical care, clean water or toothbrushes. It has become the epicenter of the migrant crisis in large part because assessing conditions border facilities is difficult due to limited access to sites.

The congressional committee will hear from activists and the Department of Homeland Security's acting Inspector General, Jennifer Costello, who issued the scathing watchdog reports chronicling unsafe conditions inside detention facilities.

"The American people are deeply concerned about the inhumane detention centers at the border and the number of children separated from their families," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the committee. "We look forward to hearing about the steps necessary to correct this crisis manufactured by the Trump Administration."

Later this month, the committee will hear testimony from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the centers and the separation of families.

Friday's hearing follows an inspector general's report released by Costello this month that described the conditions at detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley as "a ticking time bomb." The report included photos showing migrants crowded behind chain-link fences, huddling under blankets on the floor and some holding up their hands and signs.

Contributing: Maureen Groppe and Alan Gomez

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Pence heads to border to defend migrant facilities as Democrats decry 'unconscionable' conditions

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GOP senator knocks Ocasio-Cortez for comparing Trump admin detention centers to concentration camps.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) took aim at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday over her remarks comparing the Trump administration's migrant detention centers to concentration camps. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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