Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan: Allegations About Migrant Detention Centers Are "Unsubstantiated"


ABC's Martha Raddatz interviewed acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan Sunday about allegations from members of Congress that conditions at migrant detention centers are inadequate. McAleenan said such claims are "unsubstantiated."

RADDATZ: You talk about this press conference last week, you spoke about the Clint facility after an earlier A.P. report described inadequate food, water and sanitation. Here's what you said about the allegations at Clint.

MCALEENAN: Unsubstantiated allegations last week regarding a single border patrol facility in Clint station in Texas created a sensation. That’s balanced somewhat since several media outlets toured the Clint station and saw the actual conditions there, a clean and well-managed facility and well-equipped process.

RADDATZ: The New York Times report is talking specifically about the Clint facility.


RADDATZ: Why did you call those allegations unsubstantiated?

MCALEENAN: Because there’s adequate food and water, because the facility’s cleaned every day, because I know what our standards are and I know they're being followed because we have tremendous levels of oversight. Five levels of oversight.

RADDATZ: So you don’t believe The New York Times report?

MCALEENAN: So, you're asking --

RADDATZ: “The stench of children's dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agent,” they had scabies, chickenpox. Why did you say unsubstantiated?

MCALEENAN: You just referenced three things that were unsubstantiated: inadequate food, inadequate water and unclean cells. None of those have been substantiated. What I have an office of professional responsibility, independent office that oversees our operations report who went to Clint station in the same time period. We have the juvenile coordinator --

RADDATZ: Do you still think they're unsubstantiated, given the New York Times and the El Paso Times report, these specific allegations?

MCALEENAN: So I don’t know which specific allegations you’re referencing, but let’s be very clear, Martha --

RADDATZ: The ones I just read.

MCALEENAN: This is an extraordinarily challenging situation. We had an overflow situation with hundreds of children crossing every day. That’s why we were asking for funding for Health and Human Services, to provide adequate bed space so those children could be moved from that immediate border processing into a more appropriate setting for children. So I’m not denying that there are challenging situations 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 that the reason those children were at Clint station in the first place is so they could have medical consolidated, they had shower facilities for over a year there’s been showers there. So this is why we tried to provide a better situation for the brief time they’re supposed to spend at the border.

Full interview:

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