A Democratic lawmaker from Texas has released photos of children being held at overcrowded conditions at a Border Patrol facility, saying he wants to raise awareness of the "terrible conditions for the children." Rep. Henry Cuellar, who provided photos of the temporary overflow center in Donna, Texas to Axios, says he believes Border Patrol agents are "doing the best they can in the circumstances," but they are "not equipped to care for kids" and need more help from the administration amid an ongoing surge in border crossings. He says the overcrowding exceeds even pre-pandemic limits, with 400 unaccompanied male minors in one "pod" meant to hold no more than 260. Cuellar says the administration should work to transfer the children to Health and Human Services a lot more speedily.
The photos at the tent facility were taken over the weekend. Immigration lawyers have previously told ABC that the facility is severely overcrowded, with some children forced to sleep on the floor. According to documents seen by ABC, the facility is currently at 1,556% capacity. The AP reports that the administration has fought to keep images of children in overcrowded facilities out of the media. Lawyers who conduct oversight have been barred from the Border Patrol tents and dozens of media requests for access have been denied. "These pictures show you that even under our best intentions, and the Biden administration has the best intentions, it’s still very difficult," Cueller says. (Read more Border Patrol stories.)