The visit to Carrizo Springs, Texas, was led by Rep. Joaquín Castro and included House Democrat Reps. Pete Aguilar, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, Jimmy Panetta, Jennifer Wexton, and Rashida Tlaib.
On March 26, Texas Rep. Joaquín Castro visited the Carrizo Springs detention center in Texas where hundreds of boys are currently housed. Castro said the current situation at the border is a problem that the Biden administration inherited from former President Donald Trump and his advisor Stephen Miller. He said that he and his colleagues wanted to visit the facilities and see for themselves how children are being treated and to offer solutions and recommendations to the Biden administration.
During a press conference, Castro was asked if the migrant children are better off in detainment centers such as the one in Carrizo Springs or dismissed on their own, and the congress member said that “the ultimate destination, and the right destination, are with their families or relative sponsors.”
He added, “It does take some time to process them and they are better off at [Carrizo Springs] than at [US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)] processing centers where we have seen in the last week or so, and even in years past where you have people sleeping with aluminum blankets. So this is a much better situation for them, but it’s not the right situation for them.”
The visit to Carrizo Springs included House Democrat Reps. Pete Aguilar, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, Jimmy Panetta, Jennifer Wexton, and Rashida Tlaib.
Michigan Rep. Tlaib said she was glad to see that the children at Carrizo Springs were getting good medical treatment and had access to medical professionals, as well as mental health doctors.
“[Carrizo Springs] is so different from what I saw in El Paso with [Rep. Castro] and the lack of medical here,” Tlaib said. “Here it was extraordinary to see the number of medical staff here on site.”
Both representatives reiterated that the medical personnel is taking extreme precaution when it comes to testing all children for COVID-19 and separating the groups from those who are infected.
“President Biden inherited an asylum system left in shambles by the Trump administration. The responsibility falls to Congress and the Biden administration to rebuild the system with humanity—and address the root causes of migration,” Castro said.
Castro also discussed the narrative coming from Republican senators in which many of them are discussing the current migration as a “crisis” and as a “surge.” However, Castro said in an op-ed in the San Antonio Express-News that these seasonal migrations happened in 2014 under the Obama administration and in 2019 under Trump. He added that there must be a new approach to migration.
Castro said Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which includes $110 million allocated to FEMA—a humanitarian aid fund that will go toward avoiding overcrowding, as well as food and shelter programs is a good start. He also said Congress must approve Biden’s $4 billion proposal that will tackle the root causes of migration and deal with the massive immigration backlog. He said if Congress and the Biden administration don’t address these issues, the migration cycle will just continue.