Mike Pence visited two border patrol facilities in Texas on Friday, the first of which was holding 384 migrant men behind a fence inside. The space isn’t large enough for every man in it to lay down at the same time, but there aren’t cots provided.
They sleep with mylar blankets on the ground. A pool report from The Washington Post described the smell as overpowering; several guards wore face masks. Though authorities claim the men are allowed to brush their teeth once a day and there is a shower on the facility, many of the men said they’d been unable to shower for over a week. Some have been held there for over 40 days.
Pence was sent to uphold claims made my President trump that border facilities for migrants aren’t as bad as his democratic opponents have pictured them. Democrats have been calling this push to imprison people in inhumane facilities a “manufactured crisis” intended to make a case for his ridiculous border wall—and also as a distraction from the many scandals running rampant in his administration.
VP Mike Pence "knows damn well this President sold people on a brown menace... It was a manufactured crisis... you were trying to scare people to sell your fence" when you knew it was a farce, says @chriscuomo on the VP blaming Dems for seeing the border crisis as manufactured. pic.twitter.com/itaML7xPWV— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) July 13, 2019
Pence didn’t exactly fall into party lines with what he saw in Texas. In a statement to reporters, he said that the crisis was obviously real…as could be seen in the state of affairs at the facilities.
“I was deeply moved to see the care that our Customs and Border Protection personnel are providing,” Pence said. “Coming here, to this station, where single adults are held, I’ve equally been inspired by the efforts of Customs and Protection doing a tough job in a difficult environment.
“That’s the overcrowding President Trump has been talking about; that’s the overwhelming of the system that some in Congress have said was a manufactured crisis. But now I think the American people can see this crisis is real.”
Fascism doesn’t arrive in jackboots. It’s men in suits looking calmly over overcrowded cages full of people, and deciding to turn their backs on human suffering. pic.twitter.com/rhyJcWTqlH— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) July 13, 2019
It’s kind of a confusing statement, suggesting that the reason the migrants are being held in such heinous conditions is because there are so many of them and the U.S. is overwhelmed by illegal immigration. In reality, there’s no reason to be holding people in these conditions and dehumanizing them, and it’s entirely in the power of Trump and Pence to change those circumstances. It’s kind of the perfect Trumpian statement, throwing in a bit of truth to make a much larger lie go down.
Mike Pence, you like to say that only God can judge a man. But you gotta be worried about your odds about now.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 13, 2019
What can’t be hidden is Pence’s disgusting reaction to the imprisoned migrants. In a video that’s been circulating, you can see him standing in the facility and completely ignoring the people behind the fence.
The look on Mike Pence’s face screams ‘how are we gonna spin this one?’ Simply put, there is no spine: we can see these humans are being kept in cages in disgusting conditions. It’s deplorable and he knows it. pic.twitter.com/CR6DK2Bfv5
— Mike P Williams (@Mike_P_Williams) July 13, 2019
He looks all around, at the ceiling, the floor, the border agents, but not that the people who could actually tell him about their experience. Then he turns and walks away.
This image will go down in history. New video shows shows Mike Pence callously observing and turning his back on severe overcrowding of men in cages at a detainment facility in Texas.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 13, 2019
Look at the tiny girl sitting alone in the background of your photo op @VP and tell us about the "excellent care" she's getting. Stop trying to fool us with your performative Christianity. You're not fooling God. https://t.co/mXieXsuOwU— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) July 13, 2019
VP watched hundreds of Latino Christian children & men locked in an overcrowded cage, sleeping on a cement floor, denied even a shower for weeks on end—and called it “humane treatment”????— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) July 13, 2019
History will remember this image. History will remember this crueltypic.twitter.com/wJwNaZpLhF
You can see the men trying to demonstrate how they’ve been sleeping and existing in this horrible warehouse:
And you can see Pence walk away:
And the pain in the faces of the people being ignored:
there are children wrapped up like baked potatoes right behind you, you feckless toadie
— shauna (@goldengateblond) July 13, 2019
Why is the child in this photo barefoot?
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 13, 2019
It wasn’t long before people began drawing comparisons between Pence and leading Nazi official Heinrich Himmler looking at prisoners of war in a concentration camp during WWII.
History will not be kind to you. pic.twitter.com/ut2a2aFRfI
— Jessica Jones (@Jessperado) July 13, 2019
Reminded me of an old photo pic.twitter.com/ukvofLZadc
— Cheese Doodle Dad (@MichaelMarcinko) July 13, 2019
The crisis was manufactured, but it’s become very real for the people caught up in Trump’s racist, dehumanizing agenda. And Pence is totally on board.