Lindsey Graham witnessed horrific conditions at the border, but he wants everyone to know he doesn't care.
"I don't care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days."
That's what GOP senator Lindsey Graham had to say to Fox News after he and Mike Pence visited a border patrol station near McAllen, Texas. By any metric, what they saw was horrible.
Close to 400 men were packed in a cage so small there was no space to lie down. An agent in charge told pool reporter Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post that there wasn't room in the cages for cots and there was no shower in the facility. Dawsey also described the smell as horrendous, with agents wearing face masks to guard against it.
Some detainees said they had been held in the facility for over 40 days, but Graham is just fine if they're held in such awful conditions for a year or more. He justified this to Fox host Maria Bartiromo by saying it would be "dangerous" to let the men go because many have "have been here before, broke the law before."
Graham provided no evidence as to how he knew any of the men had crossed the border before or broken the law before. He's correct that an unauthorized border crossing — the law calls it "improper entry" — constitutes breaking a law. It's a misdemeanor, and the maximum term of imprisonment for it is six months, or less than half the time Graham would happily see them jailed in inhumane conditions.
Additionally, many of the migrants currently being held in these facilities are people seeking asylum, which isn't illegal at all.
Of course, Graham, Pence, and the driver of this terrible policy, Trump, can't keep their stories straight about whether or not the conditions at border facilities are awful. Graham, when talking to Bartiromo, said that he saw "a facility overwhelmed." Pence complained that the media didn't show an entirely different facility where women and children but said that what he'd seen in McAllen was unacceptable. Of course, he also said that's the fault of the Democrats.
Trump, on the other hand, thinks the border facilities are just fine. Trump — who hasn't bothered to visit — called the facility "clean but crowded," which is an absurd way to describe a holding pen of nearly 400 men who have to sleep on concrete and haven't been allowed to shower.
Time and again, Graham has been happy to back Trump's most vicious impulses. It's no surprise that he'd advocate to see people held in abysmal conditions with no end in sight.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.