Vice President Mike Pence saw firsthand what awful conditions many detained migrants must withstand in the United States as he toured an overcrowded facility in McAllen, Texas. The images coming out of that visit are difficult to believe as around 384 men were kept behind mental fences in the hot facility where they didn’t even have anything resembling mats or pillows. It is evident from looking at the images that even if the men wanted to sleep on the concrete floor it would be impossible for all of them to lie down at the same time. The smell in the facility was so bad that agents wore face masks.
A group of men who were behind the chain link fence started shouting at the gathered news cameras, with some yelling “No shower!” A patrol agent at the scene acknowledged that many of the men had not showered for 10 to 20 days for the simple reason that there were no actual showers at the facility until recently. He claimed the longest any detainee had been at the facility was 32 days but some of the men who managed to talk to the gathered reporters said that was not true and they had been there for longer.
Earlier in the day, Pence had claimed that reports of detainees being kept in filthy conditions were “slanderous.” But after visiting the facility he said he wasn’t shocked by the horrific scene. “To be honest with you, I was not surprised by what we saw,” Pence told reporters. “This crisis is real, the time for action is now.” Pence also said the conditions were not acceptable, and painted it as the fault of Democrats in Congress who have refused to provide additional funding for the border. “The McAllen station, where our cells are overflowing … ought to be a very clear message to every American that the time for action is now and the time for Congress to act to end the flow of families that are coming north from Central America to our border is now,” Pence told CNN in an interview.
In addition to the overcrowded McAllen facility, Pence also toured a much newer, more spacious family detention center where children and their parents laid in cots and watched television. “Every family that I spoke to told me that they are being well cared for,” Pence said.
Pence later took to Twitter to criticize CNN for being “so dishonest” in reporting the story. “Our great @CBP agents deserve better and the American people deserve the whole story from CNN!” Pence wrote.