11222019What's Hot:

Alex Azar both defends and pans conditions for migrant children at border

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar called for a funding bill to be passed soon, saying detention centers along the southern border will run out of money in July. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday defended the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant children at HHS border shelters and lamented the state of other facilities, saying in a Fox News interview that the centers run by Customs and Border Protection were “not good conditions for kids to be in.”

President Donald Trump and his aides have been on the defensive after numerous reports detailed unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the weekend, administration officials mostly blamed Democrats, accusing them of holding up a $ 4.6 billion emergency spending bill that would include $ 2.88 billion for unaccompanied minors.

Story Continued Below

The CBP facilities were “built for single adults coming across back in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s,” Azar said, asserting that the immigration detention system was not designed for modern patterns. “It is overwhelmed — these are not good conditions for kids to be in.”

Azar then called for a funding bill to be passed soon, and said that otherwise, the facilities along the southern border would run out of money in July.

Fox News’ Harris Faulkner then asked Azar to comment on comments by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) from last week in which she compared migrant detention centers to “concentration camps.” Azar responded by promoting the merits of the HHS centers, which were built to also house children.

true

“They have three square meals a day. They get two snacks,” he said. “They are getting education services. They get recreation. We get funding from Congress. We are paying $ 220 to $ 1,200 a day per kid. They are in a good state, and a healthy environment.”

Azar then told Faulkner that the most productive development would be getting “funding so that they can actually enhance the facility that we have.”

The Health and Human Services Department says that overcrowding created the need to use the CBP facilities over its own shelters, and that funding would help fix the issue.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article did not distinguish between the facilities that HHS Secretary Alex Azar defended and those whose conditions he said were inadequate.

This article tagged under:

Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic