Immigration Holding Facility

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, stand in line at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP) ORG XMIT: NYHK701

WASHINGTON — Louisiana U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins is among a bipartisan delegation of House members visiting the U.S.-Mexico border to view facilities firsthand, amid a heated debate on Capitol Hill about conditions for migrants.

Higgins, R-Port Barre, tweeted that Border Patrol "officers are providing extensive briefings on border infrastructure and overall status" to him and other members of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Congress has spent recent weeks investigating conditions for immigrants who have crossed the border, amid reports of cramped facilities, hygiene concerns and reports of children being held without family.

“They’re trying to process these children of God in a very humane manner reflective of the kind of nation we are,” Higgins said in a video he posted from outside a “soft-walled” facility — an air-conditioned tent — that has been erected to process immigrants.

Higgins described the facilities as "overcapacity."

“We have laws, we have the most generous immigration system maybe anywhere,” he said. “The laws are being violated, and yet, people violating the laws are being handled just as compassionately as we’re able.”

Earlier this month, Democrats who toured border facilities reported they were shocked by the conditions.

"People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress," U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, said in a series of tweets. "I brought it up to their superiors," she said on Twitter after their tour. "They said 'officers are under stress & act out sometimes.' No accountability."

Higgins, who is the ranking member of the House Border Security Subcommittee, arrived in Texas on Thursday night and is expected to return late Friday, after touring several facilities.

Joining him on the trip are: Border Security Subcommittee Chair Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and staff.

Email Elizabeth Crisp at ecrisp@theadvocate.com and follow on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.