Cummings tears into DHS chief for conditions at migrant border facilities

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Postal Service collapse that isn't happening House Democrat reintroduces bill to reduce lobbyist influence The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid MORE (D-Md.) went off on acting  Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan for more than 10 minutes Thursday over the conditions of U.S.-Mexico border facilities that house migrants.

Cummings repeatedly got emotional during the hearing, often cutting off McAleenan as he attempted to answer or respond.


“You feel like you’re doing a great job, right?” Cummings asked during one of the most contentious moments of the hearing.

“We’re doing our level best in a very challenging situation,” McAleenan said before getting cut off again.

“What does that mean? What does that mean? When a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” Cummings said loudly. “Come on man. What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.”

There have been an abundance of news reports detailing the conditions migrant children and adults face at border patrol facilities under the Trump administration.

A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found "dangerous overcrowding" and "prolonged detention of children and adults" at several facilities.

"I get tired of folks saying, 'Oh, oh, they just beating up on the Border Patrol. Oh, they just beating up on Homeland Security.' What I am saying is, I want to concentrate on these children. And I want to make sure that they are OK," Cummings said. "We are the greatest country in the world. We are the ones that can go anywhere in the world and save people, make sure they have diapers, make sure they have toothbrushes, make sure they’re not laying around defecating in some silver paper."

He repeated, "Come on. We’re better than that. And I don't want us to lose sight of that.”

McAleenan pushed back on some of Cummings’s assertion, inviting him to tour a border facility to show the lawmaker first hand that children are being reunited with their parents and conditions are improving.

“We are taking care of these children thanks to the resources we finally have; they’re moving very quickly through our facilities to [the Department of] Health and Human Services to a better situation," he said.

McAleenan also said the lack of funding from Congress directly led the conditions migrant children were left in "for way too long.”