McAleenan denies 'unsubstantiated' allegations of inadequate food, water for children at border stations

McAleenan denies 'unsubstantiated' allegations of inadequate food, water for children at border stations
© Greg Nash

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Sunday pushed back against what he called "unsubstantiated" allegations of children living without adequate food, water or sanitation at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas. 

On ABC's "This Week," Martha Raddatz asked McAleenan several times about reports from The Associated Press and The New York Times alleging children were living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, with disease spreading and not enough food provided. Raddatz asked McAleenan why, after multiple reports, he still called the allegations "unsubstantiated."

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"Because there's adequate food, water. Because the facility is cleaned every day," he said. "Because I know what are standards are and I know they're being followed because we have tremendous levels of oversight."

The Border Patrol station in Clint has been the focus of furor since reports emerged last month of the conditions children were living in.

An internal watchdog report published last week that examined five Border Patrol stations and two ports of entry also found “serious overcrowding and prolonged detention” of children, families and single adults that required immediate attention." The report also said the situation had not improved since the previous inspection.

McAleenan acknowledged difficulties along the border but maintained those detained at facilities were treated humanely.

 

 

"Let's be clear, this is an extraordinarily challenging situation. We had an overflow situation of hundreds of children crossing every day. That's why we were asking for funding from Health and Human Services to provide adequate bed space so those children could be moved from that immediate border processing facility to a more appropriate setting for children," he said.

"So I'm not denying that there are challenges at the border. I've been the one talking about it the most. What I can tell you right now is that there's adequate food, water, and the reason those children were at Clint station in the first place was so they could have medical care and shower facilities."