Health secretary slams “outrageous” rhetoric on border detention centers

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Health secretary Alex Azar denounced politicians who described detention facilities at the border as “concentration camps.” “I think some of this verbiage is just really outrageous,” said Azar, who noted government employees were doing the best they could with facilities “built for single adults coming across back in the 80s, 90s and 2000s.” Azar conceded that the facilities were full, but that’s why he said Congress needed to approve $4.5 billion in emergency funding, as President Trump has requested.

“We’ve got professional men and women at the Department of Homeland Security who are doing their best to deal with a catastrophic border crisis. It would be more productive to get them funding,” Azar said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) last week raised eyebrows when she called the facilities “concentration camps.”

The administration has been on the defensive ever since reports emerged of unsanitary and overcrowded conditions at border detention centers, but Trump officials have lately been blaming Democrats for failing to provide adequate funding for the border.

In the interview, Azar said the government is at risk of running out of money to house unaccompanied migrant children unless Congress can pass an emergency funding bill.

He said the immigration system is overwhelmed because of the sheer numbers of people attempting to cross the border.

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