Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan meets with border mayors, visits El Paso area facilities

Acting DHS head speaks in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas - Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan met with mayors of border communities, toured Border Patrol facilities and spoke with border agents during a visit to the El Paso area on Thursday.

McAleenan visited Border Patrol station 1 at Hondo Pass during the midday, where he held a roundtable gathering with the mayors of El Paso, Las Cruces and other communities from the border region and beyond.

The contingent from the U.S. Conference of Mayors held an afternoon news conference at El Paso City Hall to discuss their interaction. The leader of the mayoral delegation, Mayor Bryan Barnett of Rochester Hills, Michigan, said the group "did not hold back on their questions" to McAleenan, but felt they received "thoughtful responses." (Watch the entire news conference in the video player below.)

The mayors added "there weren't too many immigrants there today" at the Hondo Pass facility when they toured it with the acting secretary. It marked a noticeable change from the overcrowding that has occurred at some border stations in recent weeks.

Later in the afternoon, McAleenan stopped at the troubled Clint border station for a tour. 

McAleenan's visit came after several scathing reports of poor conditions at the Clint facility, where migrant children were being detained. 

The New York Times last week reported "outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox" that had spread among "the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells."

El Paso sector Border Patrol Chief Aaron Hull strongly denied those allegations in an interview with ABC-7 last weekend.

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