New photos inside one of the Biden administration’s surge facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border show the awful conditions under which migrant children are being kept amid the ongoing illegal immigration crisis. The photos, shared with Axios by Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), were taken inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary surge facility in Donna, Texas, and show hundreds of children packed into tiny, makeshift rooms as they await transfer to longer-term facilities operated by the Department of Health and Humans Services. Conditions inside such facilities have previously been described as “grim,” cage-like, and “akin to jails.”
Due to the rapid influx of migrants and the unpreparedness of the administration, many of the migrant children are being kept in surge facilities for longer than is legally permitted.
The photos provide a rare look inside the facilities, as the Biden administration has to this point blocked access to media organizations and placed an unofficial “gag order” on Border Patrol agents, restricting their ability to share information with journalists.
Axios reported that each of the eight “pods” inside the so-called “soft-sided facility” has a maximum occupancy of 260 people. But Cuellar told the outlet that as of Sunday, one of the pods contained more than 400 unaccompanied male minors.
The Democratic lawmaker described the setting as “terrible conditions for the children.” He added that Border Patrol agents are “doing the best they can under the circumstances” but are “not equipped to care for kids” and “need help from the administration.”
“We have to stop kids and families from making the dangerous trek across Mexico to come to the United States,” he continued. “We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries.”
Cuellar noted that he did not tour the facility or take the photos himself, but confirmed that the photos were taken over the weekend. The lawmaker has been outspoken about the ongoing crisis since the start of Biden’s presidency. He warned earlier this month that the new administration’s open-borders policies would ultimately lead to dangerous consequences for both migrants and American communities along the southern border.
“You just can’t say, ‘Yeah, yeah, let everybody in’ — because then we’re affected down there at the border,” he told Axios in an interview, adding, “The bad guys know how to market this.”