A delegation of White House officials and lawmakers visited Carrizo Springs, Texas, on Wednesday to see an influx facility designed to accommodate unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border – and for the first time, allowed independent media access.
This facility and other shelters overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services are equipped to provide medical services, sleeping quarters and other support while case managers work with children to unite them with a sponsor, like a parent or relative, in the United States.
But amid Covid-19 constraints, there hasn’t been enough shelter space to house the growing number of arrivals, resulting in children staying in Border Patrol facilities for prolonged periods of time beyond the 72-hour legal limit.
The conditions in Border Patrol facilities – where the media has not been allowed in – can be described as jail-like and are not meant for minors. After a congressman released photos of one Border Patrol overflow facility in Donna, Texas, earlier this week, the administration released footage and still photos of the space.
Here are comparisons of the two types of facilities children find themselves in, as the administration scrambles to accommodate them. Photos of minors have been blurred in some cases.
HHS facility Carrizo Springs, Texas
Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas
Photos provided by US Customs and Border Protection