Chris Hayes Clashes With GOP Rep Over Inhumane Conditions in Border Detention Camps: ‘You Think This Is Fictional?’


MSNBC’s Chris Hayes got into a lengthy heated exchange with Rep. Michael Burgess over the numerous news reports of inhumane conditions at border detention facilities and challenged the Texas Republican’s claims that media coverage has been overblown: “You think this is fictional?”

The contentious back-and-forth started when Hayes tried to get Burgess to agree that there is ample evidence the US has been mistreating a large number of immigrants — particularly children — but to no avail.

Instead, Burgess pushed back, saying conditions at detention facilities he’s visited were “tougher than ever” and “strained,” but he hailed the Customs and Border Protection agents as “heroes.”

Hayes again tried to get a comment, this time about specific news reports of an immigrant detention holding facility in Clint, Texas, where 249 were just transferred out after lawyers interviewing them saw they were suffering in squalor with little to no access to soap or toothbrushes and that many of them had contracted the flu and lice. The widespread accounts of inhumane conditions at US border detention camps even prompted one Republican Congressman from Texas, Michael McCaul, to say “this is the worst I’ve ever seen it” on Face the Nation on Sunday.

Burgess, however, demurred in commenting about it because he had not personally visited this facility.

“But do you think [the reporter] is making it up?” Hayes asked, incredulous. “You think this is fictional?”

“I don’t know if it’s hyperbole,” Burgess countered. “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.”

Later on, the pair clashed again, with Hayes and Burgess constantly talking over each other as Hayes tried to pin down Burgess for comment about what happened at the Clint facility.

“My focus is more on children with lice crawling through their head in a US facility that we are as citizens responsible for…” Hayes said.

Interrupting him, Burgess responded: “Wait a minute. Those children arrive with the lice and they are…”

“You don’t know that. You do not know that,” Hayes shot back.

“I do,” Burgess said.

“You don’t know that,” Hayes again insisted. “They contracted the flu in the facility is the reporting that we have.”

“That is not true. When I was down in McAllen…” Burgess began, mixing up the facilities.

“You were not in the facility, sir,” Hayes urgently pointed out. “I just talked to the lawyer who was just in Clint, Texas. You just told me you’re not in Clint, Texas. You don’t know what they got.”

“I know about McAllen,” Burgess said, deflecting again.

“I’m talking about Clint, Texas,” Hayes reiterated.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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