A Texas Republican showed the world his ignorance and landed himself in hot water when he claimed that migrant children being held in a Texas facility are “able to leave at any time”—but choose not to.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Republican Rep. Michael Burgess claimed that the children were able to leave at their leisure. “There’s not a lock on the door. Any child is free to leave at any time but they don’t. And you know why? Because they’re well taken care of.”
When pressed for further comment, Burgess leveled the blame onto Democrats. In a statement, he claimed that the left’s “empty rhetoric has largely contributed to the unprecedented crisis on our southern border that is overwhelming all resources and personnel devoted to caring for migrants.”
The shelter to which Burgess was referring is the Casa Padre. Located in Brownsville, Texas, Casa Padre is a former Walmart which houses 1,469 young boys. The youngest of these children are ten. The oldest, seventeen. The boys are squeezed into bedrooms lacking in both doors and ceilings. They have been separated from their parents, and when reporters were finally allowed to visit the Casa Padre, they were not permitted to interview any of the children being housed there.
The Casa Padre is notable, as it is the facility from which Oregon Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley was turned away when he arrived to visit unexpectedly. While the Casa Padre did eventually allow press officials to visit, they were not permitted to have phones or recording devices, or to interview any of the officials working there.
Burgess’s comments come following the relocation of 250 children held by border patrol at Clint, Texas. A CNN report detailed horrific conditions, such as children were taking care of other children, shortage of beds, inadequate clothing and lack of soap.
Rep. Burgess, a committed Trump supporter, seems skeptical of the claims leveled by the doctors, lawyers, and other advocates CNN interviewed. “I don’t know if it’s hyperbole,” he said in his interview. “I know that the hatred for this President is so intense people are liable to say anything. I got to go look for myself and see for myself.”
Following Burgess’s comments, the “hatred” for the president is seemingly rivaled by Twitter users’ hatred for him himself.
“So any non-English-speaking 4-yr-old is really free to walk out the door into Middle-of-Nowhere, Texas at any time? Whether it’s a lie or the truth, preposterous,” Twitter user @markowitz tweeted.
Writer Amanda Mancino-Williams responded to MSNBC’s tweet about the interview, writing: “Hopefully Rep. Burgess realizes he’s free to stand in front of a moving train at anytime.” Several other Twitter users tweeted the numbers of Rep. Burgess’s offices, urging people to call and complain. They also advocated voting the former OB/GYN out of office.
Twitter user @jdgunter33 summed up many’s feelings upon learning of Burgess’s medical background: “I listened to Rep Burgess’s defense of squalid conditions at the Clint processing/holding center. He blames the dems and migrants for lice. Rep Burgess, you’ve disregarded the Hippocratic oath;” do no harm”. And have embraced a hypocrite’s code; blame others.”