Grim photographs show the inside of a new immigration facility in Texas that is already overrun amid soaring numbers of migrants crossing the southern border.
The Donna center – located in the Rio Grande Valley – opened on February 24 and was initially permitted to hold 250 migrants as they were processed by authorities.
Images of the giant tent facility were released last month, with Customs and Border Protection proclaiming that it would ‘provide ample areas for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene’.
But just three weeks after opening, the facility is already at 729 percent capacity, and children being held there are reportedly going hungry, sleeping on the floor, and showering just once a week.
The shocking claims expose the extent of President Biden’s border crisis – with his administration’s softer immigration policies fueling a surge of crossings into the country.
Last month, more than 100,000 people were apprehended illegally entering the U.S., and authorities do not have the resources and infrastructure to cope with the rising numbers.
The number of children crossing by themselves rose 60 percent from January to more than 9,400 in Februar
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the government will covert a Dallas convention center into a holding facility for 3,000 unaccompanied minors.
It came on the same day that homeland chief Alejandro Mayorkas admitted that the influx at the border will soon reach a 20-year high.
Grim photographs show the inside of a new immigration facility in Texas that has already been overrun as soaring numbers of migrants cross the southern border. The facility, located in the city of Donna in the Rio Grande Valley, opened on February 24
Images of the giant tent facility were released last month, with Customs and Border Protection proclaiming that the center would ‘provide ample areas for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene’
The facility is already at 729 percent capacity, and unaccompanied minors are reportedly going hungry, sleeping on the floor, and showering just once a week while being held there
Photographs from inside the facility in the Rio Grande Valley show playpens for children and small areas for sleeping. The center is designed for both family units and unaccompanied minors, and authorities initially believed there was enough space for the migrants to safely spread out
CBP employees are seen testing out surveillance equipment at the facility just days before it opened
Photographs showing linen and clothing to be used by migrants upon arrival. However, resources are now in short supply as the center is crammed full amid the border crisis
Showering facilities are seen inside the Rio Grande processing center. With the center now 729 percent full, migrants are struggling for access to the limited number of showers, posing serious hygiene problems
Migrant children and teenagers from the southern border of the United State wait to be processed after entering the site of a temporary holding facility south of Midland, Texas
Photographs from inside the Donna facility in the Rio Grande Valley show playpens for children and small areas for sleeping. Kids as young as four years old are reportedly being held there.
The center is used to process family units and unaccompanied minors, and authorities initially believed there was enough space for all of the migrants to safely spread out.
Under pandemic safety rules to allow for social distancing, the facility is permitted to hold a maximum of 250 migrants.
But on March 2, there were more than 1,800 migrants inside the facility, CBS reported.
Neha Desai, a lawyer representing migrant youth in government custody, told the outlet children are being forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of beds while some are being held as long as seven days – more than double the legal 72-hour limit.
‘Some of the boys said that conditions were so overcrowded that they had to take turns sleeping on the floor,’ Desai told CBS after interviewing almost a dozen unaccompanied migrant children at the center.
‘They all said they wanted to shower more and were told they couldn’t.’
Some children have reportedly been illegally held at the processing facility for more than three days.
Under federal law, minors must legally be transferred from CBP detention centers to Health and Human Services shelters within 72 hours of their arrival.
But this requirement has gone out of the window as the latest data from the Department of Homeland Security shows most children are spending on average 108 hours in the cramped processing facilities.
More than 130 children have been held in the CBP facilities for 10 days.
A small play area for children is pictured. Many have complained that they are unable to get fresh air and sunlight inside the crammed facility
Pictured: desks used by CBP officials to process migrants at the facility. Under current rules, it is not legal for migrants to be held at the facility for more than 72 hours
Supplies of food, clothing and bedding is said to be in short supply given that the processing center is at seven times its legal capacity
Border Patrol agents found 96,974 migrants last month, up from 75,312 in January. Another 3,467 were taken into custody at ports of entry.
Numbers are continuing to increase this month, with 125,000 migrants expected to arrive along the border in March, according to current data.
That is the highest number in years – and officials fear the figure will soar even further throughout the spring.
Amid the surge, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will now be used to temporarily house and process unaccompanied teenage boys caught crossing the border.
The Convention Center is located more than 500 miles north of the border, and highlights the extent to which the Biden administration is struggling to provide shelter for immigrants.
The Center is usually used for sports events and music concerts, but the administration hopes to use the space to house boys ages 15 to 17, as a ‘decompression center.’
The numbers of those crossing the border has risen since Biden took office and there are plans to use Dallas Convention Center, pictured, to house 3,000 teenage boys
Officials from the Biden administration have conceded that their more ‘humane’ approach to immigration policy has fueled the soaring number of border crossings.
Since taking office, Biden lifted the Trump policy that forced migrants to remain in Mexico while going through the legal process to enter the US, narrowed the ICE’s criteria for arrests and deportations and stopped the building of Trump’s border wall.
Republicans – and even some Texas state Democrats – have blasted Biden for not properly preparing the resources and infrastructure for the surge of migrants that he knew those changes would bring.
Still not a crisis, Joe? Homeland Security chief admits U.S. is about to see largest number of migrants crossing border in 20 years
‘We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years. We are expelling most single adults and families,’ he said in a statement . ‘We are not expelling unaccompanied children. We are securing our border, executing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health authority to safeguard the American public and the migrants themselves, and protecting the children. We have more work to do.’
His statement comes a day after Republicans visited the southern border, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling the situation ‘more than a crisis’ – terming it ‘human heartbreak.’
Republican Congressman John Katko says the surge in crossings also poses security threats to the American people.
‘People who they’ve got in the last few days… have been on the terror watchlist,’ said Katko during a press conference held at the border on Monday.
‘Individuals that they have on the watch list for terrorism are now starting to exploit the Southern border. We need to wake up, we need to understand. Listen Mr. President Biden, you’re an OK guy. Why don’t you just admit you made a mistake with this policy and go back to the way it was and keep America safe for all of us?’ he asked.
But the Biden administration is instead blaming President Donald Trump’s for ‘completely dismantling’ the previous immigration process.
‘The prior administration completely dismantled the asylum system. The system was gutted, facilities were closed, and they cruelly expelled young children into the hands of traffickers,’ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas statement Tuesday morning.
Joe Biden’s administration is deflecting blame for the border crisis to Donald Trump as the White House continued to refuse to call the situation a ‘crisis’ and GOP slams him for not yet directly addressing the growing problem
ICE officers have also set up a new outdoor processing center in Texas as they struggle to deal with the soaring number of migrants crossing the southern border