As outrage continues to grow over the conditions to which the Trump administration has subjected detained asylum seekers including children, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan went on ABC this Sunday and blatantly lied about the situation. He called allegations of unsafe conditions “unsubstantiated” — despite a report from the Inspector General’s office overseeing the Department of Homeland Security that outlines the kind of dangerous situation that host Martha Raddatz brought up!
Raddatz asked him how he could have called allegations about a Clint, Texas, facility that surfaced in media reports “unsubstantiated.” McAleenan asserted that it’s:
‘Because there’s adequate food and water, because the facility is cleaned every day, because I know what our standards are and I know they’re being followed, because we have tremendous levels of oversight — five levels of oversight.’
Who cares how many levels of oversight there are! Is he seriously responding to concern about the conditions in which children have been kept by saying “well I have no idea how the bureaucracy could have let something like that happen”?
Acting DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan defends calling the report on unsanitary conditions at the Clint detention facility “unsubstantiated.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) July 7, 2019
Raddatz went on, asking him more directly:
‘So you don’t believe The New York Times‘ report? “The stench of the children was so strong it spread to the agents; they had scabies, chicken pox” — why did you say unsubstantiated?’
McAleenan retorted, seemingly forever trusting government bureaucracy over the actual testimony and experience of people on the ground:
‘You just referenced three things that were unsubstantiated — inadequate food, inadequate water, and unclean cells — none of those have been substantiated. What I have is an office of professional responsibility, an independent office that oversees our operations report who went to Clint station in that same time period.’
Raddatz went on, asking if he still thinks “these specific allegations” are false. McAleenan suddenly had difficulty coming back down to earth, saying that he did not “know which specific allegations you’re referencing.”
Raddatz retorted that she’s referring to “the ones I just read.”
McAleenan just had more bureaucracy worship to offer, even as his department’s own staffers conclude that — in their words! — the environment in which detainees are being kept is a “ticking time bomb.” The department’s inspector general shares on top of this that “at one facility, some single adults were held in standing room only conditions for a week and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells.”
Still, McAleenan went on:
‘This is an extraordinarily challenging situation. We’ve had an overflow situation, with hundreds of children crossing every day. That’s why we were asking for funding for Health and Human Services to provide adequate bed space so those children can be moved from that immediate border processing into a more appropriate setting for children. So I’m not denying that there are challenging situations at the border — I’ve been the one talking about it the most!’
It’s not a contest! Your favorite government committees and fingerpointing have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the fact that people in the employ of McAleenan’s department have neglected to provide basic necessities to detained asylum seekers and actively harassed these people at times.
Featured Image via screenshot