American News Mar 22, 2021 2:37 PM EST

Texas Rep. releases photos from inside Biden administration's detainment center for migrants

The Biden administration has restricted journalists from accessing these facilities, placing an unofficial "gag order" on border patrol officials talking to press.

Texas Rep. releases photos from inside Biden administration's detainment center for migrants
Noah David Alter Toronto
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New photos released by Axios reveal the overflow being experienced at the migrant detention facility in Donna, Texas.

The facility has eight "pods," each of which have a capacity of up to 260 migrants. However, with the massive spike in immigration seen in recent weeks, these facilities have begun to overflow, and some of the "pods" now contain up to 400 migrants in them.

Migrants detained at the Donna overflow facility. Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)

Images from the Donna facility depict children and adults packed into large rooms with makeshift and transparent plastic walls. People within the pods sleep on thin mattresses with "space blankets," an image which sparks deja vu from the Trump administration.

Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar

The Biden administration has restricted journalists from accessing these facilities, placing an unofficial "gag order" on border patrol officials even talking to the press or offering "ride-alongs" to reporters. The Biden administration has not explained why, other than because of COVID, though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has claimed that the administration has a policy of "transparency."

Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar

As a result, the images were not provided by reporters investigating the facility, but rather by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), although Cuellar admitted to not having visited the facility himself. Nevertheless, he described the facilities as having "terrible conditions for the children" and called for the Biden administration to provide more help to border patrol agencies to handle the migrant flow.

Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar

"We have to stop kids and families from making the dangerous trek across Mexico to come to the United States," Cuellar said. "We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries."

Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar

According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the administration is "working around the clock to move these children out of the Border Patrol facilities into the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services that shelters them."

"We are not expelling children, girls, 5, 7, 9 years old back into the desert of Mexico, back into the hands of traffickers," Mayorkas said, comparing the Biden administration to that of his predecessor.

The US-Mexico border has seen a spike in migrant crossings in recent months, especially in the number of unaccompanied minors. The sudden surge has overwhelmed the Biden administration, leaving many migrants in squalor conditions in these detention facilities.

Republicans have blamed Biden's soft rhetoric on illegal immigrants combined with executive orders and proposed legislation for the increase in border crossings, suggesting that Biden and the ruling Democrats have essentially invited migrants to the United States.

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