Newly released footage offers a glimpse inside a US Border Patrol detention center in Texas, where more than 1,100 people — including kids — are being held inside chain-link-fenced cages.
The footage, released by the federal agency Monday, comes from a brief press visit to the facility in the border city of McAllen on Sunday, where reporters were not allowed to take their own photos or videos.
The video shows detainees sleeping beneath plastic thermal blankets, as well as sitting shoulder-to-shoulder along benches inside the processing center’s 22 sparse cells.
Immigration detention facilities have come under scrutiny since the Trump administration unveiled its “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all adults who cross the border illegally — and separating any kids they bring with them as a result.
Around 130 unaccompanied minors are processed in the McAllen center daily — and 15 to 20 of those kids have typically been separated from their parents, officials told the LA Times. More than 250 unaccompanied youths were being processed Sunday.
Other kids were still with their parents — because the federal criminal court was closed for the weekend.
But Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) claimed many more youngsters had been bused out of the center ahead of the tightly controlled visit.
“I was told that buses full [of children] were taken away before I arrived. That was one of my concerns, that essentially when you have to give lengthy notice, you end up a little bit of a show rather than seeing what’s really going on in these centers,” he told CNN.
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