Conditions at controversial migrant detention centers will be focus of congressional hearing

Congress to hold hearing on detention centers

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Miami — The acting secretary of Homeland Security and the new acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been asked to testify at a congressional hearing Friday on the treatment of migrant families and conditions at migrant detention centers.

President Trump fired back against reporting by The New York Times and El Paso Times that outlined "filthy, overcrowded conditions" at a Border Patrol facility for children in Clint, Texas, including "outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox" "among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells."

The allegations come only days after an Inspector General report detailed "dangerous" overcrowding at some Texas Customs and Border Protection facilities.

Attorney Elora Mukherjee visited the Clint facility last month and is scheduled to testify about the conditions before Congress this week. 

"The administration is trying to cover up gross human rights abuses. The administration is trying to cover up degrading and inhumane treatment for children," Mukherjee said.

But the acting secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, has defended the conditions there.

"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," he told ABC's "This Week."

More than 490,000 migrants were apprehended or turned away at the southwest border between January and May. The president blames Democrats for not addressing asylum laws which he believes encourage families to cross the border.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd's district includes the Clint facility.

"These facilities are not built to handle the load that they're having to handle and I don't think you can ever get to that point without tearing them down and starting over again," he said.

Inside the controversial Homestead migrant detention center