Members of the press were finally able to tour the Donna Border Patrol facility after the Biden administration repeatedly came under fire for a media blackout. CBS reporter Nicole Sganga shared a thread on Twitter with various pictures and videos from inside the facility that is at 1,700 percent capacity.
THREAD — Reporters toured the temporary border facility in Donna, TX today.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
The Biden admin allowed pooled coverage for the first time.
We saw a “pod” designed for 32 migrant children under CDC guidelines now holding 615.
The facility is at 1700% pandemic capacity.
??:TV Pool pic.twitter.com/cJTPUAxXmc
Unaccompanied migrant children ages 4 months - 9 years old are now being held in the recreational area around the clock because there’s no just room for them in the dormitory areas. pic.twitter.com/AlUqJbcmEa— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
What's amazing is the lack of COVID protocols, which the reporter witnessed herself.
The outdoor recreational area is being used to stage COVID testing before unaccompanied migrant children are transferred to HHS facilities.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
We counted more than 50 COVID positive (and largely asymptomatic) kids waiting for their quarantined bus right next to a soccer game. pic.twitter.com/QYRe5ncF46
More than 2000 migrants at the temporary processing facility in Donna, TX have been here for over the legal limit of 72 hours.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
Senior CBP officials told reporters more than 1200 migrants are processed and waiting to be transferred to HHS facilities. HHS has nowhere to put them. pic.twitter.com/l3YVDKsg1Z
At least 39 unaccompanied migrant children have been in the temporary processing facility for more than 15 DAYS, Acting Executive Officer for RGV Operational Programs Division, Oscar Escamilla, told reporters.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
The legal limit is 72 hours. pic.twitter.com/UUe3HQHYjE
Raul Ortiz, Deputy Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, told reporters CBP agents now see “self-separation” by families expelled under Title 42.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
Unaccompanied migrant children re-cross the border without their parents so they can seek legal asylum within the United States. pic.twitter.com/P5IG5So1jH
The immigration system is so overwhelmed that this one facility is spending almost three times as much per month to operate.
It cost $6.1 million to stand up the processing facility in Donna, TX, according to Acting Executive Officer, Oscar Escamilla.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
It should cost $6 million per month for @CBP to run the facility at its 250-person capacity.
It’s so overcrowded that it costs $16 million per month.
Pool reporters stumbled upon 27 unaccompanied migrant children and young families outside of Mission, TX.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
One mother of a two-month old recounted to @cbsmireya how she fled Guatemala in a raft because there was just too much violence and poverty to stay. pic.twitter.com/l5otcTtN6U
The Biden's policy of "catch-and-release" is back in play, something pool reporters saw firsthand.
Reporters passed the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission, TX, where dozens of migrants still appeared to be assembled underneath.— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 30, 2021
We asked to stop, but were not permitted.
Border agents told us @CBP does not intend to hold migrants there for more than a couple of hours. pic.twitter.com/3Mb3n3imAj
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), one of the most outspoken critics of the Biden administration's media blackout, said Americans are finally getting a first-hand look at what congressional leaders have seen during their visits.
President Biden should have listened to me sooner, but I’m glad he is listening now and letting press into the Donna facility.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 30, 2021
Press saw what we saw on Friday: a CBP facility at 1,700% capacity.
Enough is enough. We need to address the border crisis. https://t.co/aJCqyMs37o
The illegal immigration crisis has been going on for months and we're barely seeing pool coverage of what's taking place. It shouldn't take political pressure from both sides of the aisle for the White House to grant media access. The press acts as a government watchdog. Oversight is lacking when the media is literally being blocked from doing their jobs.