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Tipsheet

Remember That 'Kids in Cages' Migrant Facility? Well Now It's More 'Jail-Like'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP

The Border Patrol holding facility that sparked protests and criticisms over keeping "kids in cages" reopened after renovations were completed, replacing the chain-link fence with glass windows and brick walls.

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The Washington Examiner reported the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas was closed in 2020 after being used to process unaccompanied minors and adults who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It’s a lot different. It looks more jail-like," Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council in the Rio Grande Valley, told the Examiner. "The layout is fairly similar to the old one — the difference being there’s no chain link fences. It’s brick and glass."

While the controversy over the facility began during the Trump administration, it housed unaccompanied minors in the "cages" during President Barack Obama's administration:

"The building was set up eight years ago as the go-to facility in the region to detain people in custody, the Washington Examiner learned during a tour of the CPC in June 2018. As thousands of minors showed up at the border in the Rio Grande Valley in late spring 2014, the Border Patrol was unable to process quickly as many children coming into custody or temporarily house them in its nine stations across the region, which can only hold 50-200 people. In response, the Border Patrol leased a McAllen warehouse and quickly turned it into the processing center.

"In 2018, when the Trump administration announced it would begin referring all adult illegal border crossers for prosecution for unlawful entry, families were separated in order for the adult to be jailed. Because so many children crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley, the CPC became a center for housing the children. It also become the hub for protests, including lawmakers and celebrities who visited the facility."

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In a rush to condemn the practices of the Trump administration, liberals and progressives, including Obama's own speechwriter, shared images of the "kids in cages" on social media that were taken during the Obama years or pictures of a pro-immigrant protest that featured "kids in cages" exhibit.

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