President Donald Trump on Friday praised the state of border facilities used to detain migrants, despite government and independent reports indicating that several of the facilities are overcrowded and unsanitary.
“I’ve seen some of those places and they are run beautifully,” Trump said from the White House ahead of his weekend departure to his property in New Jersey. “They’re clean. They’re good, they do a great job.”
He also said “many of them – not all of them – they’re incredible. Really well run” and praised US Border Patrol for doing “a phenomenal job,” even though “they’re not trained to be doctors or nurses or janitors.”
Some of the facilities have been described as having “deplorable conditions” by immigration lawyers, who say migrant children are left “without access to soap, clean water, showers, clean clothing, toilets, toothbrushes, adequate nutrition or adequate sleep.” Independent monitors have said the conditions at the border facilities have created a “health crisis.” And the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed overcrowding at different facilities, finding that in one area, there were “standing room only conditions” where detainees were “standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space.”
Trump, on Friday, blamed Democrats for overcrowding in facilities and appeared to suggest that he views US asylum – meant to assist individuals fearing persecution in their home countries – as an altogether unfavorable endeavor.
“They’re crowded because the Democrats will not give us any relief from these loopholes,” Trump said. “We have asylum, that’s so bad.”
Earlier this week, Trump signed a $4.6 billion aid package into law, aimed at assisting the federal government in dealing with an influx of migrants coming into the US from the southern border.
Ahead of his departure from the White House, Trump also defended Border Patrol in the wake of reports about Facebook groups with agents in them sharing mocking and disturbing images.
“I think the Border Patrol’s been treated very badly by certain members of Congress, very, very badly,” Trump contended, also saying that he had not seen reporting about the Facebook groups. “For the most part they’re very respected by Congress, but certain members of Congress say very bad things and lie and exaggerate and Border Patrol are tough people. They’re not happy about it.”
Trump’s defense of Border Patrol comes after acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders resigned late last month.
CNN’s Noah Gray contributed to this report.