Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar shared new photos from inside a migrant holding facility, where media and journalists have not been allowed access.
The photos, released for the first time during a segment with CBS's "Face the Nation," show overcrowded conditions at a facility in Donna, Texas, with children packed together, sitting on the floor under foil blankets; families waiting under a bridge in McAllen, Texas, at a temporary processing site; and dozens of young girls crowded together.
According to Cuellar, many of the migrants are being held “far longer” than the legal limit of 72 hours, when they would ordinarily be transferred to longer-term facilities before being linked up with family members or sponsors.
NEW: While journalists' access to migrant facilities continue to be limited, @RepCuellar shares exclusive photos with Face the Nation from inside a customs and border patrol facility during his recent visit in Texas. pic.twitter.com/WEAyjNMzah— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 28, 2021
Is this Humane? Kids can come and kids come stay? Locking in that now 10’s of thousands will arrive...dem congressman of year Henry Cuellar bringing the images to the public: pic.twitter.com/BdPdS7IdDa— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) March 29, 2021
He said Border Patrol doesn’t want to keep them there longer than the legal limit but there are two factors they’re also dealing with.
“One … there's large numbers of people coming across every single day—groups of over a hundred individuals coming in into the Border Patrol custody,” he said. “No. 2, the flow through—that is through HHS, they're moving and they're trying to get more shelters open.”
As of Friday morning, the U.S. was housing 12,500 unaccompanied children in shelters and at emergency sites, while another 5,500 were being held in Border Patrol facilities. To alleviate the strain on bed capacity, the Biden administration has found at least nine emergency sites to house unaccompanied minors in border detention facilities, which are not meant to hold children. (CBS)
He also called it “unprecedented” that more than 2,000 asylum-seeking migrants are being released without a court date.
"They're supposed to appear, show up, maybe in 60 days, report to an ICE office," he said. "This is unprecedented."