GOP congressman: Toddlers are happy to stay in jails where they're not properly fed


Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) claimed that toddlers and kids jailed at the border can 'leave at any time,' but choose to stay in unsanitary conditions.

Add Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) to the list of GOP lawmakers willing to defend the indefensible.

Burgess went on MSNBC Monday night to defend the Trump administration's jailing of immigrant children at the border in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. New reports show that kids are going weeks without being bathed or given clean clothes, having their medication taken away from them, and being forced to eat uncooked frozen food.

Shockingly, Burgess claimed that these kids can actually leave the border jails whenever they want but are choosing to stay — even though many of the children being detained are much too young to fend for themselves.

"There’s not a lock on the door," Burgess said. "Any child is free to leave at any time. But they don’t and you know why? Because they’re well taken care of and yes at some point they are going to live with family, generally not mother or father but some family member, that’s a good thing."

It's hard to imagine Burgess doesn't know better.

He was a doctor before coming to Congress, something he highlights on his official congressional website with an "M.D." next to his name. In fact, Burgess was an OB-GYN before coming to Congress, meaning he likely delivered babies and should know that many of the kids in these facilities aren't old enough to simply walk out and fend for themselves on their own.

Reports say that some mistreated kids in these facilities are so young they are in diapers, and that other young children are acting as caregivers for the youngest ones.

Burgess is also wrong about children not leaving detention facilities. Some older children have in fact run away, including one 15-year-old boy who fled the Casa Padre facility in Texas that Burgess specifically mentioned in the interview. And when that happens, it's a potentially dangerous situation where the child's safety can't be guaranteed.

Burgess has already come under fire for his ridiculous defenses of the Trump administration's treatment of kids at the border. In June 2018, he was booed at a town hall for not trying to stop Trump's cruel family separations.

Ultimately, it's hard to fathom that Burgess thinks conditions at these baby jails must be fine because toddlers aren't choosing to walk out of them en masse.

But that's what happens when there simply is no defense for how these kids are being treated.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.