Pence calls for more funds after touring border patrol station in Texas

U.S. border agency says it is holding 200 children down from 2,500 in May

Pence toured two migrant holding facilities Friday with Republican senators in an effort to defend the administration's handling of the migrant crisis following reports of inhumane conditions at the facilities.

Acknowledging "this is tough stuff", Vice President Mike Pence says he was not surprised by what he saw Friday as he toured a Texas Border Patrol station, where hundreds of men were being kept in cages with no cots amid sweltering heat.

"When the men saw the press arrive, they began shouting and wanted to tell us they'd been in there 40 days or longer", the report said.

Such CBP facilities in the past have been used to house migrants for less than 72 hours, but that has changed in recent months as the number of families crossing the border grew.

"I believe these women, " she said. There were no mats or pillows for those who found the space to rest. "It's about [an] open borders agenda, resisting our president - more interest in that than securing our border", he said. Squalid conditions at border facilities have drawn widespread concern as the migrant flow across the border has surged to more 100,000 per month this year, at times overwhelming the US immigration system. "But now I think the American people can see this crisis is real".

The vice president later told reporters he had expected to see similar conditions at the facility.

"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.

Michael Banks, the patrol agent in charge of the McAllen facility, disputed the detainees' account of the conditions, saying they are allowed to brush their teeth once a day, and that the no one had been held there longer than 32 days.

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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.

CBP officials said single adults at the new facility will be provided three daily meals, showers, medical services, laundry, custodial services and temperature controls.

Numerous men had not showered for 10 to 20 days because the facility did not previously have showers, according to Banks, who said it now had a trailer shower. He stressed that he had called for more Department of Homeland Security spending because of the overcrowded situation, including a $4.6 billion USA humanitarian aid package that Congress passed recently. Most were lying on kindergarten-style napping mats on the floor covered with thin, tinfoil blankets.

"Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for, " Pence said, criticizing Democrats' "harsh rhetoric".

He said it will be created to hold single adults who have crossed the border and have been taken into custody - it will not hold family units or unaccompanied children - and that it will "provide relief for overcrowded Border Patrol" stations as the agency awaits transferring the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

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

"It's 2019, and we're still treating some people as less than human", said Pérez, a Democrat who was a critic of the child detention facility.

"These are concentration camps".

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