After weeks of denying journalists access to an overcrowded migrant facility at the U.S.-Mexico border, reporters were finally allowed in to get their first look.
A pool of selected reporters and photographers was allowed into the center in Donna, Texas, where more than 4,000 migrants are held. Some 3,400 are unaccompanied minors. Photos show migrants packed into plexiglass pods, strewn with shiny Mylar blankets.
“There are eight ‘pods’ in total — critics have called them ‘cages’ in reference to criticism leveled at the Trump administration — each containing 500-600 migrants,” Fox News reported. “Guidelines say there should only be 32 migrants in each pod. Donna’s temporary facility is 140,000 square feet. Children sleep on three-inch gym mats and lie under metallic foil blankets. Kids are given masks but many don’t wear them. In one room, pool reporters saw a purple and pink pen surrounding a group of 27 children on an alphabet rug, ranging from 3-9 years old. The youngest child is just four months old.”
The pool was reportedly told that there are now more than 500 Border Patrol agents working at the facility, which should cost $6 million a month but now costs $16 million a month. “The Department of Homeland Security turned over 600 unaccompanied children to HHS on Monday and will have 270 migrants leave on Tuesday. Two planes are flying out each day from the Rio Grande Valley each day to El Paso and San Diego transporting migrants,” Fox News reported.
In some of his first actions in office, Biden did away with the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) — also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy — which kept foreigners who tried to enter the U.S. illegally in camps in Mexico while they awaited hearings. Instead, Biden returned to a “catch-and-release” policy in which illegal aliens are allowed to enter the U.S.
Suddenly, the flow of foreigners to the border exploded. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents apprehended nearly 100,000 people at the border in February. Last April, just more than 16,000 were captured at the border, according to Pew data.
Former President Donald Trump last week accused Biden of causing “death and human tragedy” by overturning his border policies.
“We proudly handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history,” the former president said in a statement. ” All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a just few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster. They are in way over their heads and taking on water fast.”
But Team Biden last week blamed Trump for the swarm of foreigners at the U.S. border.
“Biden officials claim Trump officials did not fully cooperate with his transition team, hindering their ability get a realistic view of potential migration, and that Trump deconstructed the immigration and asylum system – which they then inherited,” the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
“As we were coming into the administration, we knew we were inheriting an absolute mess from the previous administration — that there were aspects of our legal immigration system that had been gutted and a department that lacked the personnel to administer our laws,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the director of the White House’s office of intergovernmental affairs, according to CNN.
But former acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told CNN that the Biden transition team was “specifically warned again and again and again,” adding that officials even modeled a projected increase in border encounters if Trump policies were withdrawn.
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