Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, questions acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday in Washington.
Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, questions acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty)

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings ripped into the acting Homeland Security Secretary on Thursday over conditions at facilities holding children suspected of crossing the border illegally, saying “none of us would have our children in that position.”

During a congressional hearing on “The Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy,” Cummings took Kevin McAleenan, head of the Department of Homeland Security, to task for what he described as conditions that allow children to defecate on themselves and not be given access to a shower.

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“You feel like you’re doing a great job, right?” Cummings asked McAleenan.

“We’re doing our level best in a very challenging situation,” McAleenan said.

“What does that mean?” Cummings said, raising his voice and interrupting McAleenan.

“What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” Cummings continued. “Come on, man. What’s that about?”

Cummings’ comments come as reports of squalid conditions at border patrol facilities continue to dominate the news cycle.

A report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found the facilities suffered from “dangerous overcrowding." Reports have detailed unsanitary conditions at some facilities.

Cummings laid into McAleenan and the broader issue, saying that “none of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.”

“We are the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the world,” he added. “We are the ones that can go anywhere in the world and save people, make sure that they have diapers, make sure that they have toothbrushes, make sure that they’re not laying around, defecating in some silver paper.”

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