GOP Texas Rep. Michael McCaul Says Migrant Child Detention Center Conditions Are 'Worst I've Ever Seen': 'This Is Real Stuff'

As the Trump administration faces growing scrutiny over conditions at detention facilities housing migrant children along the southern border, Republican Texas Representative Michael McCaul has spoken out, saying conditions are the "worst" he has ever seen.

"I've lived in that state, I've been down there throughout my 15 years in Congress and before that as a federal prosecutor. This is the worst I've ever seen it and it has to be taken care of," McCaul, who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said Sunday during an interview on CBS' Face The Nation.

The Texas representative called on Congress to take action to address the situation by providing the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services departments with emergency humanitarian funding.

"We have to pass humanitarian aid to take care of these children. That is the nation we are. We have to take care of these kids," he said.

Asked about Vice President Mike Pence's recent comments blaming Democrats for the funding shortfalls, McCaul appeared to agree with Pence, asserting that a humanitarian aid bill "has to be passed soon because both DHS and HHS will run out of money at the end of this month."

"This is real stuff," he said.

Where McCaul appeared to differ with the vice president was on his willingness to support a "compassionate humanitarian package" that leaves out measures to deter migrants from making the journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.

In his own interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Pence called on Congress to both dedicate additional resources to the border and "get to the root problems and loopholes" contributing to the situation at the southern border.

McCaul said that he would like to see both the humanitarian needs of migrants, as well as the "loopholes" around migration addressed, but said he would be willing to pass a "compassionate humanitarian package" on its own "because it's the right thing to do."

Otherwise, he said, the DHS and HHS will not "have money to take care of these children and properly detain, house and feed them."

Conditions of migrant detention facilities, as well as treatment of migrants, have come under increasing scrutiny following reports suggesting that the government is falling short in providing adequate living conditions for migrant children.

A recent report from The New Yorker highlighted how children in detention facilities have been left to care for each other, while suffering from the flu, lice outbreaks and being forced to sleep on cold concrete floors.

Meanwhile, last week a Justice Department lawyer attempted to argue that the government should not be required to provide basic hygiene products, such as toothbrushes and soap, to migrant children because such items do not appear in the Flores Settlement Agreement, which requires the U.S. government to ensure "safe and sanitary" conditions for migrant children in federal custody.

Judges were left stunned by the argument, with Senior U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima telling Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian that it should be "within everybody's common understanding" that "if you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it's not safe and sanitary."

Michael McCaul
GOP Representative Michael McCaul of Texas speaks to reporters after U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the House Republican Conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2018. McCaul has said conditions at detention facilities for migrant children are the worst he has ever seen. MANDEL NGAN/Getty