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Sen. Portman Blames Lack Of Funding For Crowded Detention Centers

Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman
J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press
Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman

After making a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Wednesday discussed his proposals to relieve crowded detention facilities.

With Vice President Mike Pence, Portman stopped by the Donna Processing Facility and the McAllen Border Patrol Station, which are used to detain unaccompanied adults, migrant families and children.

Portman said lack of funding is one of the reasons why facilities are crowded with poor conditions. He said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was left out of the emergency border funding earlier this year.

“That’s why the processing centers for the single men are just absolutely packed and the conditions are bad, because we can’t send them to the ICE facilities, because the ICE beds were not funded in the $4.6 billion,” Portman said.

In a statement Saturday, Portman says he spoke with some of the migrant parents and children about their experience, as well as talked to officials at the centers.

“I believe our Customs and Border Protection officials on the ground are doing the best they can in an impossible situation,” Portman wrote.

Portman said elected officials should work with United Nations to set up processing centers in other countries where immigrants can seek asylum.

“We must fix our broken asylum laws and work with the United Nations on a refugee alternative where people apply outside of our country, we must overturn the parts of court rulings that necessitate releasing people into the United States if they are accompanied by a child, and we must permit the return of unaccompanied children to their families in their home countries,” Portman wrote.

Sen. Sherrod Brown was also in Texas over the weekend, but he said agents denied him access to these facilities Sunday because of insufficient staffing.

Nathan joined WKSU as an intern in May 2019. Nathan is a broadcast journalism student at Kent State. He’s previously been a correspondent for TV2 as well as a crew member of Teleproductions. His interests include entertainment and culture.