Customs and Border Protection released Tuesday two videos and 44 photographs of the temporary migrant processing facilities in Texas.
The images show shelves at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in Donna and El Paso, Texas, stocked with food, clothing and hygiene items and officials monitoring migrants personally and through surveillance. Migrants are shown moving through the temporary facility in Donna, Texas, on Wednesday in a single file line and sitting in plastic cells without room for social distancing.
CBP is still prohibiting members of the media from accessing the facilities.
“In order to protect the health and safety of our workforce and those in our care we continue to discourage external visitors in our facilities; however, CBP is working to balance the need for public transparency and accountability,” the agency said in a statement.
“We are working through, with the Department of Health and Human Services and also the Department of Homeland Security, to ensure privacy and ensure we’re following COVID protocols,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “We remain committed to transparency, and, of course, as I noted last week, we certainly want to make sure that the media has access to these sites.”
The photographs and videos were taken last week, according to the agency.
Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez said it would be “inappropriate” to allow journalists access to CBP facilities where minors are processed because they “are not permanent places for children,” Fox News reported Sunday. Sanchez added that outside visits could jeopardize the minor’s privacy or spread COVID-19.
Resources at the processing facility in Donna, Texas, consist of eight soft-sided “pods” meant to hold 260 migrants, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar told Axios Monday. Cuellar said over 400 unaccompanied migrant minors were held in one “pod” as of Sunday.
“CBP continues to transfer unaccompanied minors to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as quickly and efficiently as possible after they are apprehended on the Southwest Border,” the agency said in a statement.
CBP released video footage from the Donna facility taken Wednesday.
The Donna facility was constructed due to limited capacity at the permanent Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, for migrant family units and unaccompanied children, according to the agency.
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