GOP Rep: 'Any Child Is Free To Leave At Any Time'

by Valerie Williams

Your head will explode listening to this GOP rep claiming migrant kids can just waltz out of detention camps any time they want

During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, a Texas Republican congressman had the absolute nerve to suggest that detained migrant kids must be happy in their filthy and barely livable conditions because if they’re not, they can just get up and go.

No, we’re not kidding.

GOP Rep. Michael Burgess, appallingly, told Hayes earlier this week that really, no one’s holding these kids prisoner. “You know what?” he said. “There’s not a lock on the door. Any child is free to leave at any time, but they don’t. You know why? Because they are well taken care of.”

Holy. Shit.

And go where exactly? Go where while alone, in a foreign land, without their parents or food or money or water or the ability to take care of themselves BECAUSE THEY ARE LITTLE KIDS. What is happening in this country? Last we checked, these were kids separated involuntarily from their parents or caregivers, and if they had a choice to find their trusted loved ones instead of sleeping on a concrete floor with a foil blanket we’re pretty sure we know what they’d prefer.

But this is a member of the soulless Trump GOP, so it’s halfway understandable that he’s going full Stockholm syndrome and suggesting that those kids just love being detained in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, being denied the privilege of toothbrushes and soap. Honestly, my rage is so hot right now my face feels like it might actually catch on fire.

Also, time to “well, actually” Burgess with a report on the facility he’s referring to that explicitly states the fact that the young people staying there are, in fact, locked in. It’s a former Walmart superstore and houses migrant boys, ages 10 to 17.

Burgess’ stunningly ridiculous claim comes as reports emerge of horrid conditions at migrant detention centers housing children. There’s kids without soap, toothbrushes, proper food and water, and a comfortable place to sleep. The lights are on all night while migrant children are forced to sleep on concrete floors with foil blankets, young kids left caring for even younger ones, pretty much fending for themselves. To suggest that they could casually walk out “at any time” and choose to stay because things are just so great at our U.S. concentration camps is simply ludicrous.

Allow this devastating quote to The New Yorker from Warren Binford, a law professor who recently visited a border patrol facility in Texas, to drive home exactly what Burgess thinks these kids are perfectly happy to live in:

“The children told us that nobody’s taking care of them, so that basically the older children are trying to take care of the younger children. The guards are asking the younger children or the older children, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy? Who wants to take of this little girl?’ and they’ll bring in a two-year-old, a three-year-old, a four-year-old. And then the littlest kids are expected to be taken care of by the older kids, but then some of the oldest children lose interest in it, and little children get handed off to other children. And sometimes we hear about the littlest children being alone by themselves on the floor.”

What have we turned into? And how do we make it stop?