Photos released this week by several media outlets show overcrowded and uncomfortable conditions inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) overflow facility where migrants are being held for processing in Donna, Texas.
In the leaked photos, migrants – many of them children – can be seen crowded into the makeshift quarters as growing numbers of migrants are continuing to flood in across the nation’s southwest border and the current facilities are struggling to accommodate all of them. The migrants are being held in clear pens that resemble cages, and many of them are seen lying down on plastic mattresses, sleeping shoulder to shoulder and covering themselves in foil blankets. Others can be seen sleeping on benches.
Some of the photos were provided to Axios by Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, who recently visited a children’s shelter but did not tour this particular facility and did not take the photos himself. He said the images that he provided were taken over the weekend and that more than 400 male minors were being held in one section that is meant for just 250 people.
The Biden White House is facing growing pressure over the conditions at the border, where the new president has promised to implement what he views as more humane policies than those seen during the Trump administration – although these pictures clearly indicate otherwise. The White House has maintained that it is keeping migrants safe via social distancing, but sleeping shoulder to shoulder cannot in any way be considered keeping a safe distance.
Moreover, U.S. policy states that children should not be held in custody for more than three days; right now, more than 2,000 of the children there have already passed the limit. As of Sunday morning, NBC News reports that there were 4,878 unaccompanied children in border patrol custody, 822 of whom had been there for longer than 10 days.
Perhaps one of the biggest red flags here, however, is the fact that the Biden administration has refused to allow the press to access these border facilities. The only photos we have seen of the conditions these people are being kept in were leaked by various individuals who presumably work within the facilities.
In addition, non-profit lawyers who carry out oversight of these detention centers have been barred from going inside or seeing photos of the conditions there. Imagine the outrage in the mainstream media if this was happening under President Trump!
When Cuellar gave the photos to Axios, he described the “terrible conditions for the children” and said that border patrol agents were doing the best they could given the circumstances but that they need more support from the administration. It’s clearly a bad look for Biden to have people from his own party calling for a stop to what is going on at the border.
He said: “We have to stop kids and families from making the dangerous trek across Mexico to come to the United States. We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries.”
According to Project Veritas, at least 50 migrants in these cells have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few days, which is not surprising given how closely they are being kept. There have been reports of multiple assaults, sexual assaults and medical emergencies in these facilities, and there is no telling what horrors many of these unaccompanied minors were subjected to by the drug cartels who brought them into the country.
Sources for this article include: