Two GOP congressmen who toured migrant holding facilities in Texas told Fox News about their experiences, with one saying the migrants being held in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas are “sleeping head to foot” in a single room at the facility.
Dallas-area Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, and Midland Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, recounted their visits to the teen migrant facilities in their towns in separate Wednesday interviews with Fox News.
Taylor toured the migrant facility in downtown Dallas on Tuesday, and dubbed the growing crisis at the Southern border a “humanitarian crisis.”
“We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands,” Taylor said. “For many years, we’ve struggled as a country to have a secure Southern border, but we’ve never had a surge like this before.”
“They’re not socially distanced. They’re sleeping head to foot,” said Taylor.
“My understanding is, the facility is 2,300 beds. [There are] 1,602 kids as of 8 AM yesterday, but it will be 2,300 by close of business today,” he added. “It’ll be totally full.”
Facility coordinators described the situation as a “crisis standard of care,” Taylor said. “A ‘crisis standard of care’ is for people whose homes were just destroyed in a hurricane, burned in a wildfire, a tornado, something like that, where they’ve literally lost everything,” he added.
He also said that the teens are placed in “pods” of 50, and are given “a five-minute supervised shower” once a day. Taylor added that the facility is having to use portable restrooms because “there aren’t enough facility bathrooms.”
Taylor added that the migrants are not allowed outdoors and that there are “no televisions” in the facility, saying the Dallas Convention Center “is a very barebones, survival intake site.”
“This is the third site — they’ve created one in Midland, Texas; one in Pecos, Texas; and now one in Dallas, Texas. These are expensive. They’re personnel-expensive,” said Taylor. “You have teams of doctors providing healthcare for these children. You have 500 full-time personnel on-site plus volunteers.”
Taylor revealed that there are no physical barriers in the facility separating the migrant teens from each other, such as what was seen in the Donna, Texas facility.
“They’re not cordoned off,” said Taylor. He added that the “problem is if one of them tested positive, it’s very hard to think that they didn’t infect somebody else when they’re sleeping on the floor, seven to a room for a week.”
Taylor said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tests migrants before they travel, and COVID-positive migrants are sent to a different facility. He does not know where that facility is.
The congressman spoke to four migrant children — two from Honduras, one from Venezuela and one from El Salvador — in the facility in Spanish on his tour, he said. The migrants told him that they had been “traveling for about a month.”
“All the children I interviewed said that, as soon as they got to the border, they surrendered to Border Patrol. Because, once they get to Border Patrol, they’ll get a meal, they’ll get new clothes, they’ll get a shower, they’ll get medical care.”
“And then, ultimately, they believe the United States government will send them anywhere in the United States they want to go, said Taylor. “So all they have to do is get to the border and they’re good.”
The congressman called the tour “the most upsetting thing” he has seen in his time in Congress and blasted the Biden administration, saying they “created” the “humanitarian crisis” due to a lack of planning.
“They didn’t know what they were doing,” added Taylor. “It was very upsetting.” Taylor’s fear, he said, is that “there’s going to be more of these facilities and they’re going to be spread around the country.”
Pfluger toured the migrant holding facility in Midland on Wednesday, telling Fox News after the tour that the facility had more than 300 teens at it and that approximately one in ten had tested positive for COVID, comparing the rooms at the facility to a “dormitory.”
“They have a mixture of single and double rooms here. Over 300 kids, about 10 percent positive with COVID,” said Pfluger. “Approximately 10 to 11 percent.”
Pfluger said the kids in the facilities looked healthy, which the congressman said tells him they “had help getting here.” He said the facility director called the current level of human trafficking is “more than she’s ever seen.”
“They’re on a nation-wide search all throughout the country to open more facilities,” Pfluger added. “And yet they refuse to admit it’s a crisis when they can’t keep up with the numbers that they’re currently seeing.”
When asked by Fox News last week if migrants held at the facility are being tested for COVID-19 and if all migrants in the facility have tested negative, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said migrants are tested before they leave for the emergency intake site, after they get off the bus, and then “subsequently every 3 days while at the EIC.”
“The Dallas EIS is providing required standards of care for children such as providing clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, and access to medical services. All children are tested for COVID-19 before being transported to the Dallas EIS,” said HHS.
“The children are again COVID-19 tested upon arrival, and then subsequently every 3 days while at the EIC,” HHS said, adding that children who test positive for COVID-19 are “removed from the remaining population and are isolated for the welfare of the staff and others.”
HHS said last week that the “program is looking for a site to accommodate” migrant healthcare needs, including quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure and that ORR “operates a network of over 200 facilities/programs in 22 states and has a proven track record of accountability and transparency for program operations, as well as being a good neighbor in the communities where facilities are located.”
HHS did not respond to Fox News’ follow-up questions asking for the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests from migrants in the facility or how many migrants have been isolated due to COVID-19.
The congressmen’s revelations come as the Biden administration continues to bungle the border crisis.
It was recently revealed that Border Patrol in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley have started releasing migrants caught illegally crossing the border into the U.S. without assigning them an immigration court hearing date.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar posted the now-infamous photos of the Biden administration’s migrant holding facility in Donna, Texas, which critics said mirrored his predecessor’s policies that Democrats said put “kids in cages.”