The Biden administration decided on Wednesday to give a small television crew access for the first time to a center in Texas where some of the migrant minors who crossed the border in recent days are being held.
The television crew will accompany congressional lawmakers and members of the White House who are scheduled to visit this Wednesday the detention center for immigrant minors located in the Texas town of Carrizo Springs, with a holding capacity of 700 people and reopened under the current administration.
The images that are recorded will be shared with other media when the visit concludes, a White House spokesman said in a statement.
“The Biden administration is committed to transparency,” he asserted in the same release.
The Carrizo Springs center is run by the DHS and is designed to house minors. It has bunk beds, educational activities, and a clinic where children can allegedly receive medical care.
Biden has been widely criticized because some of the minors who have crossed the border in recent weeks have had to stay in separate facilities run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that are designed for adults, not children.
Minors cannot stay in these facilities for more than three days, but the CBP centers are so overwhelmed by the increased arrival of minors that they have not had time to process them and are being held for an average of 10 days, according to local media.
The current administration has denied reporters access to CBP centers, but on Monday Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar released a series of photographs taken at one such facility in Donna, Texas, showing, he said, the “terrible conditions” in which thousands of migrant minors are being held.
The photographs showed children and adolescents, separated by sex, and sitting or lying on the floor inside compartments segmented with clear plastic.
The government, forced to react, released two videos on Tuesday: one from the Donna center and another from El Paso, which offered a more favorable image than the one offered by Cuellar with children wearing masks and a large amount of materials to attend to them.
According to government sources quoted by the media, CBP has about 5,000 minors in its custody, while the Health Department currently takes in about 15,000 children who have crossed the border unaccompanied by their parents or legal guardian.
The number of undocumented migrants crossing the border from Mexico has been rising month by month since last May, and in February exceeded 100,000, with an increase of 28% over the previous month.
In the case of unaccompanied minors, the monthly increase was 61% in February.