The new facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, currently houses less than 800 migrant boys who are age 18 and younger.
Yesterday, a group of congress members, immigration advocates, and White House officials visited a migrant detainment facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The trip comes just days after pictures emerged of detained children and adults at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which manages the Carrizo Springs facility, approved the visit after the Biden administration received criticism for the images from the holding facility.
“The Biden Administration is committed to transparency and will continue to work with agencies on creating avenues for media access and visibility at both Homeland Security and Health and Human Services facilities,” a White House spokesperson told The Washington Post. “Agencies will continue working to fulfill requests from Members of Congress for access to these facilities as well.”
Reps. Sylvia García (D-Texas) and Verónica Escobar (D-Texas) were among those who visited the Carrizo Springs facility. García said on Twitter that the “children are being taken care of.” Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) will be touring the facility Friday.
The facility houses boys 18 years of age and younger. According to NBC News, 766 children are currently at Carrizo Springs, and out of that group, 108 of them tested positive for COVID-19. Those that test positive are moved to a separate dormitory where they can isolate.
García said the Carrizo Springs facility is an improvement from other facilities she has seen in the past.
“We are working on solutions to this issue and I am hopeful,” García added.
NBC News noted that under the Trump administration, an estimated 1,700 children were being housed at this same facility. The maximum capacity is 900. Under the Biden administration, no more than 800 children have been housed at Carrizo Springs. HHS is providing the children with instructional teachers, exercise, and sports capabilities.
RAICES, an immigration advocacy legal organization that was also part of the tour of Carrizo Springs, explained in a Twitter thread that there isn’t a current “surge” of migrants.
“The situation we are facing is nothing new. Child migration and the numbers of kids we’re seeing enter through the border is not unprecedented, unusual or surprising. Statistically, this was very predictable.”
The Washington Post released an analysis of the current migration figures and reported that what we are seeing at the border right now is “not a surge. It’s the usual seasonal increase.”
“We analyzed monthly CBP data from 2012 to now and found no crisis or surge that can be attributed to Biden administration policies,” the Post reports. “Rather, the current increase in apprehensions fits a predictable pattern of seasonal changes in undocumented immigration combined with a backlog of demand because of 2020’s coronavirus border closure.”