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Kuster says conditions at border are humanitarian crisis

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Manchestrer, N.H., July 16, 2019 | By Tim Callery

Congresswoman Annie Kuster has returned from a weekendlong visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Democrat joined other members of Congress for a briefing on conditions at border facilities. 

Kuster said conditions at some locations were horrendous and she was disturbed by what she saw.

"It's a heart-wrenching situation. We have a true humanitarian crisis developing at the border," Kuster said.

She said her main concern is with the border patrol station in McAllen, Texas.

"The situation there is extreme. I would call it inhumane conditions,” Kuster said.

Kuster said people are being held in cells that are designed to hold people 24 to 48 hours, but some are there for 40 to 60 days.

“These are in cement cells. They cannot lay down. They have no bedding. They had no showers or bathing. They hadn't even been able to brush their teeth,” Kuster explained.

During her visit, Kuster also stopped by the border processing facility, known as Ursula, where she spoke with children and parents.

She called conditions inside the 22,000-square-foot warehouse are an improvement over the patrol station.

“They were treated with compassion. There were showers. There were laundry facilities. There was clothing. There were hot meals being delivered to them," Kuster said.

However, Kuster added more needs to be done to control the situation.

"We talked with Customs and Border Protection about the increased facilities that they would like to have, the increased personnel. Obviously, they're overwhelmed with the situation," Kuster said.

"We need to get the resources to the border so these cases can be processed immediately,” she continued.

Last month, Kuster voted to approve $4.5 billion for humanitarian assistance at the border.

The money will help to relieve overcrowding at the border and provide aid to migrants and refugees.