ollowing new media reports on accusations of unsafe conditions for illegal immigrants in detention facilities, the US president floated the possibility of letting the press go in and see the reality for themselves.
US President Donald Trump said Sunday he wants to open the illegal migrant detention centres near the US-Mexico border to the press in a bid to alleviate accusations of unsanitary and dangerous conditions inside.
“I’m going to start showing some of these detention centres to the press. I want the press to go in and see them,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey, according to AFP. “We’re going to have some of the press go in because they’re crowded, and we’re the ones who were complaining about their crowding. They are crowded because people come up.”
His thought comes after a new series of publications in the US media that appear to exaggerate the findings of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspectors who warn of “dangerous overcrowding” in the facilities due to a massive influx of migrants, whom US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrests and detains in accordance with US legislation.
According to Saturday reports by The New York Times and The El Paso Times, the detention facility in Clint, Texas, is allegedly “filled with hundreds of children wearing filthy clothes and packed into disease-ridden cells.”
“The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly,” the article said.
Trump dismissed the stories as “phony and exaggerated accounts,” but The New York Times defended its article saying “we are confident in the accuracy of our reporting on the US Border Patrol’s detention centres.”
Earlier this week, following the publication of DHS inspectors’ report, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited the facility and, despite chosing not to tour the premises, published a series of tweets claiming that detained illegals live in “deplorable conditions,” and are abused by CBP agents who force women to drink “out of the toilets.”
Her allegations were debunked by a group of priests from National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who conducted a visit of their own. AOC was also criticized by the former CBP director Tom Homan for “intentionally misinforming the American public.”
Detention facility overcrowding is a result of a massive flow of migrants, traveling across Mexico from several Central American countries, seeking to enter the US territory illegally.
Trump vowed to build a border wall in order to prevent migrants from crossing, but the initiative is faced with heavy resistance from House Democrats. Earlier this month, after much debate, Trump signed a bill allowing the transfer of $4.5 billion to CBP for detention facilities expansion and humanitarian aid. As a part of his plan to curb the migration crisis, Trump struck a deal with Mexico, under which the latter deployed thousands of newly-formed National Guard troops on its southern border and across the country.