Mike Pence visite 384 hommes dans un centre de détention surpeuplé, certains dormant sur du béton – Global Newsaoût 8, 2019
“No shower! No shower!”
It’s the shout that news camerapeople heard from men being held behind chain-link fencing at a migrant detention facility in Texas, on the same day that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence came to see for himself the conditions in which asylum seekers have been living, NBC News reported.
WATCH: July 4 — U.S. border patrol agents push back against criticism over detainment of migrants
Friday took Pence to two facilities: one in Donna, the other in McAllen, according to The Washington Post.
The first facility had opened in May, and was holding approximately 800 people.
There, he found people lying on the kinds of mats you might find in a kindergarten class, covering themselves with tinfoil blankets. Kids watched a movie in a separate room.
At the second, in McAllen, Pence found as many as 384 men held behind fences, packed so tightly there wasn’t enough room for them to lie down.
Some slept on concrete, there were no pillows or cots, and reporters who toured the facility before the vice-president arrived heard from detainees that they’d been there as long as 40 days.
A patrol agent said that some of the men there hadn’t showered for as many as 20 days because he facility didn’t have showers — though it did on Friday.
WATCH: July 10 — Inside a holding centre for migrant children
The agent added that the longest tenure for any migrant at that location was 32 days.
“This is tough stuff,” Pence said.
“That’s the overcrowding President Trump has been talking about. That’s the overwhelming of the system that some in Congress have said was a manufactured crisis.”
The tours were arranged in an effort to fight back against allegations of inhumane treatment at migrant detention centres.
“The crisis is real,” Pence said, as quoted by NBC News.
“But what’s not real is the slanderous allegations of heartless mistreatment by Customs and Border Protection. I can see it in your eyes, I can hear it in your voice, about the care and concern.”
WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says detained women were told to drink water from a toilet
Pence’s remarks came after a rash of allegations about how migrants are being treated in such facilities.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has compared detention facilities to “concentration camps.”
She also alleged earlier this month that migrants are being held in “horrifying” conditions at a border patrol station in El Paso, that she saw women who didn’t have water and who were instructed to drink from a toilet.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has fought back against that allegation, releasing a video in which the chief patrol agent in the Tucson sector denied that was happening.
“Aliens are not forced to drink out of a toilet,” chief patrol agent Roy Villareal said in a video released July 3.
On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez appeared as a witness at a House committee and asked to be sworn before she recounted the allegation about toilet water.
She’s not the only one who has detailed “dangerous” conditions in detention centres.
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security released a report this month detailing “dangerous overcrowding” at the El Paso station.
The office said 900 people were crowded into a facility meant for 125 at one point.
- With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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