Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul said Sunday that the conditions at migrant detention centers in the Lone Star state are the “worst” he’s ever seen.
“I’ve been down there throughout my 15 years in Congress and before that, as a federal prosecutor. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it, and it has to be taken care of,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
McCaul also agreed with Vice President Mike Pence, who, during an earlier appearance on the program, said dangerous, unsanitary conditions in detention facilities were the fault of congressional inaction.
“I think at a minimum … we have to pass humanitarian aid to take care of these children,” McCaul told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.
“If my choice on the minority side is to vote up or down on a compassionate, humanitarian package, that’s what I’m going to do because it’s the right thing to do,” he added.
McCaul’s comments came after immigration attorneys said that four toddlers were sent to the hospital last week after they were held at a Border Patrol facility.
Warren Binford, a law professor at Williamette University who was part of the team of lawyers that interviewed 60 children in a detention facility in Clint, Texas, told the AP that children her team interview were so tired they were falling asleep at the tables and chairs in the interview room.
“We’ve seen the worst conditions that we’ve seen in the last three years of conducting these visits,” said Binford.
“Many of them have not been bathed, many of them talk about how hungry they are,” she added.
Binford also said that the conditions at the Ursula Detention Center in McAllen, Texas that her team visited the week before were no better for the children there.
“The children are telling us that there have been over 300 children in a single room,” said Binford. “If that’s true, which it appears to be, then, literally, the United States is warehousing children in a ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario.”
“We’ve got to do something about it,” said Binford.
House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who appeared on the CBS program before McCaul, said resolving immigration issues would require a “humane” approach that Democrats do not trust President Trump to implement.
“There is a crisis on the border, no question. The president’s policies have contributed to that crisis,” Smith said.
According to the New Yorker, “Hundreds of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents or family members are being held in dirty, neglectful, and dangerous conditions at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. This week, a team of lawyers interviewed more than fifty children at one of those facilities, in Clint, Texas, in order to monitor government compliance with the Flores settlement, which mandates that children must be held in safe and sanitary conditions and moved out of Border Patrol custody without unnecessary delays. The conditions the lawyers found were shocking: flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated, and children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, and taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards. Some of them had been in the facility for weeks.”