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Pence visits migrant detention facilities and calls on Congress to act

Pence visits migrant detention facilities and calls on Congress to act

President Donald Trump, a Republican, has made cracking down on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his administration, which is trying to deal with a surge of mostly Central American families crossing the US-Mexico border.

Central American families fleeing violence, poverty and drought have been coming to the U.S.in record numbers this year, peaking in May, when the Border Patrol made almost 133,000 apprehensions. "And we can't keep people in a cell beyond what the rules and regulations allow for, but everyone in that temporary facility is getting health care, they're getting hygiene and the Customs and Border Protection is doing their level best in an overcrowded environment and a hard environment to address this issue, but Congress has got to act", he said.

"The cages were so crowded that it would have been impossible for all of the men to lie on the concrete".

Some of the men said they were hungry and had been held there for 40 days or longer.

Dawsey writes that it was not only "sweltering hot" but that "the stench was horrendous".

"I knew we'd see a system that was overwhelmed", Pence said, according to the pool report.

Hirono continued, "Believe me, when any of us visit, they will make sure that they see what they want us to see". They said they hadn't had access to showers or toothbrushes.

Republican lawmakers who represent border districts and Democratic lawmakers who have recently traveled to the border each testified.

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"So even thought the House Democrats went along with the McConnell funding bill in the Senate", Hayes said on Twitter, "Pence is still running around blaming "Democrats in Congress" for not adequately funding their detention camps".

Pence then toured another immigrant processing center in the area before boarding Air Force 2 for the flight back to Washington DC.

"Every family that I spoke with told me they were being well cared for", he said, noting what he heard was different from what he called "the harsh rhetoric" coming from Democrats. But it's also where the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has said migrants are receiving substandard care.

The new adult holding facility is being built at the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry, about 30 miles southeast of El Paso.

Pence sought to deliver that message during his trip here, saying "I couldn't be more impressed" with the work being done by the Customs and Border Protection agents. This comes after a report from the Office of the Inspector General detailing unsafe overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley. Officials said it was one of the "nicest facilities because it was new and relatively clean". Most were lying on kindergarten-style napping mats on the floor covered with thin, tinfoil blankets.

With Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan translating into Spanish, two children told Pence they'd walked two and three months to arrive. As a result, most have been moved out within the 72-hour time limit to HHS facilities.

After visiting the second site, Pence had a more sober assessment.