Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

GOP rep: children at migrant-detention facility are ‘free to leave’

Updated

All In with Chris Hayes, 6/24/19, 9:24 PM ET

GOP Rep. on conditions in camp: ‘Any child is free to leave at…

Chris Hayes talks to GOP Rep. Michael Burgess about reported deplorable conditions for children in migrant detention camps.
Chris Hayes talks to GOP Rep. Michael Burgess about reported deplorable conditions for children in migrant detention camps.
There have been all kinds of reactions from Americans confronted with heartbreaking reports about children suffering in migrant-detention facilities, but in general, congressional Republicans have said very little.

To his credit, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) was willing to speak with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes about his perspective. Unfortunately, his defense of the status quo needed some work.

The GOP congressman addressed conditions at the Casa Padre shelter in Brownsville, Texas, a former Walmart store converted to house migrant children as young as 10. Burgess seemed to believe there’s proof that conditions at the facility aren’t that bad:

“You know what? 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.”

I’m trying to imagine the practical effects of such an approach. Let’s say there’s a 10-year-old boy who finds the conditions at the Casa Padre shelter intolerable. Let’s also say he follows Burgess’ suggestion and decides to flee.

Then what? Is he supposed to call an Uber?

What’s more, according to NBC News’ reporting, the Republican congressman isn’t quite right about the details: at the Casa Padre shelter, the kids are, in fact, “locked inside.”