Acting homeland security secretary defends border conditions

Acting homeland security secretary defends border conditions
FILE - In this Feb.19, 2019 file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. A government spokesman says President Donald Trump’s administration is evaluating vacant properties near five U.S. cities as potential permanent sites to hold unaccompanied migrant children. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber said Wednesday that property is being assessed in and around Atlanta; Phoenix; Dallas; Houston; and San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is defending conditions at U.S. Border Patrol stations following reports of unsanitary conditions.

McAleenan says there is an “extraordinary challenging situation” at the border, but told ABC’s “This Week” that reports of inadequate food and water and unclean cells at a station in Clint, Texas, are unsubstantiated.

McAleenan said Sunday that DHS has 350 children in custody — down from June 1 when it had 2,500. He says Congress provided extra money for beds and soft-sided facilities.

A government watchdog office last week reported severe overcrowding in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, a busy corridor for illegal crossings. The report said children at three facilities had no access to showers and that some young children had been jammed in centers for more than two weeks.