- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2019

Children at the border do have toothbrushes, do get the chance to take showers and have their dirty clothes washed when they are apprehended at the border, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Thursday.

He was responding in particular to reports in The New York Times and from a special monitor for the conditions of children, who questioned border officials’ claims that children were getting enough food, and had the chance to clean themselves.

Access to toothbrushes was a major issue highlighted by the critics, but Mr. McAleenan said those reports — apparently complaints from the children themselves — do not match reality.

“They did not see the supplies available. They did not see the toothbrushes available,” Mr. McAleenan said. “They have tens of thousands of toothbrushes.”

He added: “We’re washing their clothes, we’re giving them new clothes.”

The conditions of the children has become a major issue in the border crisis, with Democrats seizing on reports of rough conditions.

Mr. McAleenan said things were particularly bad in early June, when the special monitor was visiting facilities at the peak of the surge, and before Congress approved $4.6 billion in emergency money.

That money has helped open more space for children at the federal Health Department, allowing thousands of children to be moved out of custody of border authorities and placed in shelters set up for the children.

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