Pence: 'Outrage' to say migrant children being held in concentration camps

Vice President Pence on Friday called it an “outrage” to equate migrant detention facilities with concentration camps, pushing back on criticism of the crowded facilities at the southern border.

Pence made the remarks after visiting detention centers in Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border that the administration says show the strain immigration enforcement agencies are under. 

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"I hope first and foremost that we put to the lie this slander against Customs and Border Protection. People saying that families and children are being held in concentration camps is an outrage," Pence told CNN.

"The Nazis killed people. Our Customs and Border Protection, as you heard today, are saving lives every day," he added.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezStudents retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas MORE (D-N.Y.) first drew Republican outrage last month after comparing the detention facilities to concentration camps. The New York Democrat has since doubled down, while the administration has ripped the comparison.

The Trump administration has long touted hard-line immigration policies as a strategy to combat what it says is a crisis at the border, something Democrats have dismissed. Pence on Friday urged Democrats to "move past this rhetoric about a manufactured crisis."

"The president wanted me to come down here today to look in on how families are being treated but also to be able to show the American people that this system is overwhelmed, it’s overcrowded and Congress has got to step up to end this crisis of illegal immigration at our southern border," he said.

Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, who traveled with Pence, said in a pool report that one of the facilities they visited had more than 380 men behind fences with no pillows or mats to sleep on and not enough space for everyone to lie down. Dawsey said men told reporters they had not showered in weeks and did not always have access to toothbrushes and food.

The Trump administration has come under increased scrutiny after a Department of Homeland Security watchdog report found "dangerous overcrowding" and "prolonged detention of children and adults" at facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.

Twelve people have died in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities since September, including several children.

Pence on Friday said he was "not surprised" by what he saw when he visited the migrant detention facilities near the border.

"I was not surprised by what I saw," Pence said after touring a facility near McAllen, Texas. "I knew we'd see a system that was overwhelmed."