Border Patrol chief 'extremely offended' by Ocasio-Cortez's concentration camp comments

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said Thursday that she found recent remarks comparing detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border to concentration camps “offensive.”

“I personally find them offensive,” Provost told lawmakers during a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing. “My men and women, as well as the men and women in [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], are doing the best that they can with the limited resources that they have.”

The Trump administration official was responding to questions from Rep. Michael GuestMichael GuestWashing our hands of the coronavirus House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Border Patrol chief 'extremely offended' by Ocasio-Cortez's concentration camp comments MORE (R-Miss.), who asked her about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezObama: You lose people with 'snappy' slogans like 'defund the police' The left's turn against freedom: Curb speech, ban books, make an 'enemies list' Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE's (D-N.Y.) remarks earlier this week that made the comparison.


Ocasio-Cortez sparked backlash on the right after she said on Instagram Live on Monday when referring to facilities meant to hold and process migrants that "the U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are.”

"Recently, a member of Congress has referred to those detention centers as concentration camps. Remarks which myself and other members of Congress find highly offensive. Would you care to comment on that matter?" Guest asked the Border Patrol chief Thursday.

Provost replied that she has spoken to agents who are “bringing toys in for children and buying them with their personal money; agents are bringing in clothes; they're feeding babies; they're going above and beyond day in and day out to try to care for these individuals to the best of their ability. And this is not what they were trained or what they signed up for to do.”

“I am extremely offended by those comments,” she added.

Provost also noted that Border Patrol operations and agents are being "overwhelmed on a daily basis" by an influx of migrants traveling across the border.  

“I have been forced to divert 40 to 60 percent of border patrol’s manpower away from the border as we process and care for nearly 435,000 families and children that have flooded across our southern border so far this year,” she said.

The Trump administration has been housing thousands of immigrant families that have illegally crossed the border, often seeking asylum at a growing number of detention centers.

Conditions at the centers, however, have repeatedly come under criticism, and in a recent report, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found “egregious” circumstances including “unusable” bathrooms, overcrowded holding areas and expired food.

Ocasio-Cortez has since defended her remarks, which have continued to draw the ire of conservatives.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, meanwhile, has asked lawmakers to approve a $4.6 billion border supplemental bill to aid the overwhelmed border agencies.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the supplemental on Wednesday and it now will be taken up by the full chamber.