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Top Trump Official Ken Cuccinelli Laughs When Jon Karl Asks if Conditions at Border Are Human Rights Violation

Acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli appeared on ABC’s This Week on Sunday to talk about the border crisis and the pending ICE raids with guest host Jon Karl, and during the combative interview he snickered at Karl’s suggestion that conditions seen in a detention facility violate human rights.

Karl began by showing footage from Vice President Mike Pence‘s visit to a border detention facility and read to Cuccinelli from the description of conditions that CNN’s Josh Dawsey posted to Twitter.

“I’d like you to take a look, watch these scenes from McAllen, Texas and I want to read a little bit more from Josh Dawsey’s report on what he saw,” said Karl. “He writes — ‘a stench from body odor hung in the air, it was sweltering hot, the only water was outside the fences and they needed to ask permission from the Border Patrol agents to drink. According to one of those agents, many of those men had not had showers for 10 to 20 days.’ So I know the system’s overwhelmed. How can this happen in the United States of America?”

“Well, because Congress has let it happen. It’s that simple,” said Cuccinelli. “Look at just the supplemental appropriation last month. It was overwhelmingly focused on children — and all of us prioritize care for children. And in one month we went from about 2,500 kids in overcrowded — being in CBP detention facilities down to about 300-some-odd with only a handful of those past the 72-hour metric, that is when we try to ship kids out of — of Border Patrol custody.”

“So when Congress provides the professionals at the border what they need, success happens, success being measured as avoiding overcrowding,” he said.

Karl said he understands there was a request for more money for beds and pressed about the conditions. “But how can you allow this to happen? If you don’t have the resources, you can’t detain these people, can you? Isn’t that a basic human rights violation?”

Cuccinelli laughed as he answered, “Sure you can,” on detaining people and “No,” on whether it is a human rights violation.

“No,” he repeated. “I mean, they’re being fed, they’re being –”

“They don’t even have enough space to lie down,” Karl interrupted.

“Well, you know, that’s–” he began with a sort of what’s-coming-to-you shrug, “That’s a reality of facilities not designed to handle the swamping at the border.”

The two went back and forth, with a lot of crosstalk, about whether it’s a good idea to release people being held under such conditions, with Cuccinelli saying letting them go is “the wrong alternative” and ignores the law, and Karl asking rhetorically whether there is “also a law about how you treat human beings.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of ABC News.

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