Vice President Pence visits the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday as a House panel hears testimony from Democratic lawmakers and others about conditions at facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security.
Pence announced his visit on Twitter on Monday, saying he’ll be going to McAllen, Texas, with senators.
Pence said he’ll be bringing TV cameras.
“We’re going to let people see the facility — a facility that is providing care, providing hygiene, providing health care and support,” the vice president told reporters on Thursday, according to a pool report. “But we’re also going to see a system that is overwhelmed.”
Pence said that although he invited the entire Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats apparently would not accompany him.
At the Capitol, the House Oversight Committee is hearing from four Democratic lawmakers who have recently traveled to the border — Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas; Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. The lawmakers have been outspoken in condemning the conditions they witnessed at a detention facility there.
The panel will also hear testimony from the Department of Homeland Security’s acting inspector general, Jennifer Costello, whose office found “serious overcrowding and prolonged detention in Border Patrol facilities requiring immediate attention” during a trip to visit Border Patrol facilities in Texas last month.