, 23 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
Yesterday, I traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to see firsthand the conditions at detention facilities and ports of entry. I feel much better informed.
Here’s what we saw as we visited locations in McAllen and Brownsville. My comments reflect my own emerging understanding of the issues. Any inaccuracies are my responsibility.
Arriving at McAllen Border Patrol Station, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (@CBP).
Briefing at McAllen Border Patrol Station.
Holding cells at the McAllen Border Patrol Station with migrant adult men who have crossed into the United States illegally. For some migrants, this “detention” lasts weeks, not days as it should.
These migrants are not being sent to the next stage of the process – @ICEgov facilities that can accommodate them for longer periods of time pending adjudication – because ICE is over capacity. These detainees are living for weeks in cells that are only meant for 72-hour holding.
This interpreter is talking to a detainee who indicated that there are dozens in a cell meant to hold ten people and many detainees have been there for more than three weeks.
A holding cage at McAllen Border Patrol Station with hundreds of detainees. Mylar blankets are covering men sleeping under bright lights. There isn’t enough room for everyone to sleep at the same time.
Preparing to enter the McAllen Centralized Processing Center known as “Ursula.” Masks are required to protect against the flu and other outbreaks that have occurred, including bacterial meningitis.
At Ursula, we encountered families and unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border seeking refuge and asylum.
Again, many are being detained for longer than appropriate periods of time because the Office of Refugee Resettlement is not able to accommodate them, as is meant to happen.
Vans used to bring detainees into Ursula.
Newly arrived detainees at Ursula being brought into holding pods.
Holding pens at Ursula processing center. Right now, the lights are on all the time. @CBP told us they are getting dimmers to dim the lights for sleeping.
This little girl was found alone by the side of the Rio Grande. She has no one.
At the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center (@CCharitiesRGV). This is an inspiring and hopeful place where families released from @CBP who have sponsors can have a shower, a good meal and a day’s rest before boarding buses for the trip to relatives and friends.
Many are asylum seekers coming from Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
.@CBP has a good relationship with Sister Norma’s @CCharitiesRGV center, so it releases families to the center and from there, they set out on a journey to sponsors. Many of the families from the Northern Triangle are going to sponsors located in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
At the Brownsville Port of Entry from Mexico into the U.S., where we received a briefing from Director Higgerson of the @CBP.
Cocaine was found in this gas tank coming across the bridge at the Brownsville Port of Entry. Most contraband that comes into the U.S. comes through official ports of entry.
The international bridge at the Brownsville Port of Entry. The white awning is U.S. territory. The green awning is Mexican territory. People cross back and forth all day – by the hundreds – if their visas and day passes are in order.
Until recently, hundreds of undocumented migrants seeking asylum and attempting to cross here were becoming backed up in the @CBP office on the U.S. side. Now, @CBP has instituted “metering,” which means only 20 asylum seekers per day are being let through.
The result is hundreds are waiting on the Mexican side in tents. Some, too desperate to wait, are making the dangerous trip across the Rio Grande river.
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