During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) pressed U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan about his agency’s failure to address the severe overcrowding, rampant spread of disease and lack of adequate supplies at Border Patrol stations and detention facilities across the southern border.
“I understand that there’s a debate about why we’re where we are, but there cannot be any debate, and I assume you agree, that when you’re dealing with children there are basic standards – humanitarian standards, when it comes to their treatment – that need to be followed,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This is gut-wrenching testimony that we got. It’s unconscionable we would treat children this way in the United States.”
Congressman Sarbanes concluded: “I just want to ask you, beseech you and your department to take more ownership of the treatment standards here…. Once a child is in that situation, it’s a matter of basic human compassion that we treat them with decency and humanitarian response.”
Last week, Congressman Sarbanes traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the inhumane conditions at detention facilities and ports of entry.