The photos show crowded quarters, including children sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on mats on the floor with aluminum blankets and on benches. Another photo shows dozens of children in a transparent pen similar to a cage.
The release of the photos comes as the White House and CBP have been pressed over the fact that the media has not been given access to these facilities. President Biden’s administration has cited coronavirus protocols as the reason why the press is not allowed in.
In a statement accompanying the photos, the CBP said it is working to “balance the need for public transparency and accountability.”
“CBP continues to transfer unaccompanied minors to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as quickly and efficiently as possible after they are apprehended on the Southwest Border,” CBP said in a statement Tuesday.
The agency continued: “In order to protect the health and safety of our workforce and those in our care we continue to discourage external visitors in our facilities; however, CBP is working to balance the need for public transparency and accountability. Still imagery and video are now available of the Donna Processing Center in Donna, Texas, and the Central Processing Center in El Paso, Texas.”
The photos released by CBP also show a line of port-a-potties apparently being used as restroom facilities for the children, as well as an artificial grass field with a few hula hoops presumably as a play area.
The office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, released photos of the same center in Donna, Texas, on Monday, as the media is clamoring to get better access to the southern border and the Biden administration continues to deny that the border situation is a crisis.
“More has to be done to address this growing humanitarian crisis,” he tweeted. “These migrant children need our help right now. Not later.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the administration is “working to finalize details” on potentially allowing the press to see the processing centers that are holding minors.