Yahoo.com, By Claudia Harmata -PEOPLE, Posted July 16th 2019
Vice President Mike Pence visited the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas on Friday, where 382 immigrant men were packed behind chain-linked fences under “sweltering hot” conditions.
Many of the men told reporters they had been there for 40 days or longer, saying that they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth.
The cages were so overcrowded that it would have been impossible for the men to lay down all at once, and no mats or pillows were provided so the men slept on bare concrete.
“I was not surprised by what I saw,” Pence said at a news conference. “I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed,” later adding, “This is tough stuff.”
According to a transcript, Pence defended the unsanitary conditions.
“While we hear some Democrats in Washington, D.C., referring to U.S. Customs and Border facilities as ‘concentration camps,’ what we saw today was a facility that is providing care that every American would be proud of,” he said.
The patrol agent in charge of the McAllen Station, Michael Banks, told reporters that the longest a man had been held in the station was 32 days and that men were allowed to brush their teeth once a day.
The men were also given deodorant after showering, though many of the men had not showered for 10 to 20 days because the facility just received a trailer shower on Thursday.
One reporter noted that “the stench was horrendous” and some patrol agents wore face masks while guarding the cages.
Banks also told reporters that the facility was cleaned three times a day and was air-conditioned, though one reporter mentioned that it did not seem that way.
According to Banks, the men get three meals a day from local restaurants, along with juice and crackers.
The men were allowed to leave the cages to get water. However, they were not permitted to do so when the press was there for the visit.