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Pence acknowledges 'tough stuff' at border detention centers

Pence acknowledges 'tough stuff' at border detention centers

In an interview with CNN after the visit, Pence called the situation unacceptable, and pointed out that the conditions in facilities like McAllen's are why Republicans have been seeking funding from Congress for Customs and Border Protection.

Some of the men said that they had been there for 40 days or longer, were hungry, and wanted to brush their teeth.

Graham didn't specify how long migrants would be held in detention, instead saying the "Flores decision would be modified so we have more than 20 days".

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

"Because of the smell, it was hard for me to sit by them", she said. Migrants have been held for weeks or months in facilities not created to hold them that long, drawing increasing criticism from congressional Democrats. The men did not have mats or pillows and some were sleeping on concrete.

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.

"I was not surprised by what I saw", Pence said later at a news conference. They love them and I've seen it.

According to a pool report, he told reporters he "couldn't be more proud of the CBP agents at the facility, and that every American would be proud".

The hearing of the House oversight committee grew heated as Democrats and Republicans on the panel argued over who bore responsibility for the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at detention centers on the southern border.

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"Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they came from, and in far safer conditions", Trump wrote in a July 3 tweet.

In a statement issued Thursday ahead of Pence's border visit, Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Abhi Rahman dismissed the VP's trip as a photo op.

A patrol agent, Michael Banks, said the men were allowed to brush their teeth once a day. But he conceded that numerous men had not showered for 10 or 20 days because the facility previously didn't have showers.

Last week a report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found children at some Texas border facilities who faced clothing shortages and lacked hot meals, while some adults were held for a week in a cell so crowded they had to stand. He stressed that he had called for more Department of Homeland Security spending because of the overcrowded situation, including a $4.6 billion U.S. humanitarian aid package that Congress passed recently.

"Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for, " Pence said, criticizing Democrats' "harsh rhetoric". Most were lying on kindergarten-style napping mats on the floor covered with thin, tinfoil blankets.

As Pence toured the facilities, a House committee was having a contentious, partisan debate back in Washington over how migrants have been treated.

Also testifying Friday were Escobar and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., who said federal treatment of migrants has "exceeded a level of degradation we should be ashamed is occurring on American soil".

Some Democrats have described the detention centers as "concentration camps" and say the USA government is holding children in "cages".