MCALLEN, Texas - Acknowledging "this is tough stuff," Vice President Mike Pence says he was not surprised by what he saw as he toured a Texas Border Patrol station, where hundreds of men were being kept in cages with no cots amid sweltering heat.
Pence said later, "I knew we'd see a system that was overwhelmed," citing the humanitarian crisis and congestion. "This crisis is real, the time for action is now."
The vice president visited the McAllen Border Patrol station Friday, just ahead of controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids targeting undocumented immigrants this weekend.
When detainees saw reporters arrive, many began shouting, saying they had been there for 40 days or more, were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. Agents guarding the cages were wearing face masks.
The press pool covering the vice president was pulled out within 90 seconds.
Pence says he has pushed for more federal spending to deal with the situation.
"That's the reason why we demanded that Congress provide $4.6 billion in additional support to Customs and Border Protection," the vice president said in an interview following the tour and a roundtable with Border Patrol officials. "The McAllen station, where our cells are overflowing ... ought to be a very clear message to every American that the time for action is now and the time for Congress to act to end the flow of families that are coming north from Central America to our border is now."