On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the Times had written “phony and exaggerated accounts,” adding that “people should not be entering our Country illegally, only for us to then have to care for them.”
In response, the publication’s communications department told the president it stood by its reporting.
“We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting on the U.S. Border Patrol’s detention centers,” it said.
The Times then called attention to a section within the Saturday article detailing that it had partnered with the El Paso Times to conduct “dozens of interviews” including “current and former Border Patrol agents and supervisors; lawyers, lawmakers and aides who visited the facility; and an immigrant father whose children were held there.”
“The review also included sworn statements from those who spent time at El Paso border facilities, inspection reports and accounts from neighbors in Clint,” it said.
The article details squalor and overcrowding within the Clint facility, a site the Times describes as secretive since its opening in 2013.
A map of the center points to rows of tents outside where, during an influx of arrivals, migrants were kept.
Among the Times’ particularly disturbing findings were outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, hunger, soiled clothing, sobbing children and one girl so depressed she was placed on suicide watch:
Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.
During an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan denied the Times’ report, claiming there is “adequate food and water” and that “the facility is cleaned every day.”
“We have no evidence that children went hungry,” he said. “Police station cells are not a good place for children, as I’ve said dozens of times.”
In June, The Associated Press revealed that the Clint center lacked food, water and sufficient sanitation. Though McAleenan denied that report as well, the federal government removed most of the minors being held in the station once the article emerged, scheduling them for transfer to other facilities.