(CNSNews.com) - Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told Congress on Tuesday, "The demonizing of law enforcement professionals must stop."
Morgan began his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee with an anecdote about CBP agents rescuing a paraplegic man who was tossed into the river by human smugglers and saved from drowning by American agents.
"The men and women of CBP are not running concentration camps; making those in our custody drink from toilets; nor denying them access to toothbrushes. That is simply not true,” Morgan said.
"This is the kind of irresponsible rhetoric that they have to endure from both the media and even some of our own congressional leaders. It's unjust and does nothing to bring us closer to solving one of the most divisive issues that we face in our country."
Morgan said the "false, misinformed and overheated attacks" are "demoralizing" and unhelpful in solving the real crisis, which is unchecked migration; or in identifying the real culprits -- the cartels.
Morgan said he met last week with the minister of security from the Northern Triangle countries, all of which "expressed their collective frustration that quote, 'the future of their countries are leaving for America' and quote, 'They want their children back.'"
The emergency at the border is driving by changing demographics, Morgan said.
“More than 300,000 children have entered our custody since October 1 of last year. These numbers are staggering, unprecedented, and have overwhelmed every aspect of our border and immigration enforcement system.”
“We at CBP and DHS, we are comforting infants; we're taking the sick to the hospital, averaging over 800 hospital visits per day. We are expanding our medical care, ensuring children are provided medical screenings. We're building soft-sided facilities to provide a more adequate environment for families and children, costing tens of millions of dollars per month to operate. We are providing food, clothing and other basic necessities.”
Morgan said border agents, fifty percent of them in some areas -- have been pulled off the line and redirected to help process the massive volume of migrants.
"We've called for volunteers from all across the government to help us manage the surge of humanity," he added.
Most of the undocumented people are coming here in the belief that having a child with them is their ticket to stay here, Morgan said, and "our laws support that perception."
"If there's not a specific and meaningful change in our laws, our detention facilities will continue to be overwhelmed; our personnel will continue to be diverted from their primary missions to safeguard this country; legitimate trade and travel will continue to suffer; our ability to prevent dangerous narcotics and criminals illegally entering our country will continue to be greatly diminished; and smugglers, like the ones who threw the paraplegic into the Rio Grande, they will continue to profit."
Morgan said Congress must close the loopholes in the current legal framework.
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) noted that Border Patrol stations are not designed to house so many would-be asylum seekers.
At one point in late May, Morgan told Johnson, there were more than 19,000 migrants in a system designed to detain no more than 4,000.