Inside a closed-door US Border Patrol facility in Texas
From a CNN source: As the number of unaccompanied immigrant children continues to rise crossing the US-Mexico border, hundreds have been kept in US Border Patrol facilities not designated for minors.
The Biden administration did not allow journalists to visit the facilities independently, but many lawmakers did visit the sites. Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar provided these photos revealing the conditions of dozens of children and adults at a surplus facility in Donna, Texas.
As of Sunday, there were 822 children held in border patrol facilities, similar to prison conditions, for more than 10 days, according to documents obtained by CNN. The number of children detained for long periods has increased almost daily as the administration races to find shelter to accommodate them and amid restrictions related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayuras, when CNN’s Dana Bash pressured him in “State of the Union” on Sunday, did not provide a timetable for when children would be accommodated at the border in more humane conditions, saying only that it would be “as soon as possible”. . “
Mayoras Labash said that the Biden administration “is working around the clock to transfer these children from border guard facilities to the care and escort of the Department of Health and Human Services that harbor them.”
“I have said again and again from the beginning that the border guard post is not a place for a child,” the minister said.Texas.
The US Customs and Border Protection has reported about the opening of a Facilitated Personnel Facility in Donna. The facility differs from typical border guard stations and provides dining and sleeping areas, according to the agency.
However, the increasing number of immigrants has depleted the administration’s resources, resulting in crowded conditions.
The documents show that the average time in custody for unaccompanied children is still hovering around 130 hours, crossing the statutory limit of 72 hours, although the number of children in CBP custody has dropped slightly to just under 4,900.
White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki told reporters on Monday that the photos “show what we have said a long time ago, which is that these Border Patrol facilities are not places for children.” Psaki added that the department continues to focus on efforts to develop solutions, including expediting treatment and opening additional facilities managed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Our alternative is to bring the children back on this treacherous journey,” she added.