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Video shot inside a Texas migrant facility shows people crowded into plastic-covered cubes, as border crossings increase and COVID-19 cases soar.
The video, obtained by Fox News, shows a Donna, Texas, facility packed with people wearing masks lying shoulder to shoulder on small mats and cots.
Some use foil blankets. Others sit nearby in benched seating areas.
There is little furniture or space to distance within the sections, which come equipped with mounted televisions. Each “pod” is covered in draped plastic.
Outside of the closed-in areas, people sit close to one another in rows — apparently on the floor appearing to wait for some type of processing or treatment.
The busy facility represents a stark contrast to images released by DHS in the spring that showed the pods mostly empty at what appears to be the same facility.
The Donna facility has been expanded to speed up processing of migrants, though there are still more than 5,300 people in custody, according to Fox, which cited a border patrol source.
US Customs and Border Protection reportedly picked up 19,000 unaccompanied children at the border with Mexico last month alone. On Wednesday, over 830 unaccompanied kids were reportedly stopped by officials.
Under current federal policy, children who are taken into custody are to be transferred to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services within three days, then tested for the coronavirus before further processing.
The kids are then released to parents or relatives within the US.
Republicans seized on the images to bash the administration with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz hashtagging #BidenBorderCrisis.
“Kids are packed in cages and Joe Biden doesn’t care,” he said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has clashed with Biden over the governor’s anti-restriction approach, went after the president this week and sought to tie the migrant surge to increasing virus cases although experts have said there isn’t evidence to back up a link.
“This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to, quote, shut down the virus and what has he done?” he said. “He’s imported more virus from around over the world by having a wide-open southern border.”
“Who knows what new variants are out there but I can tell whatever variants are across the world they’re coming across that southern border,” DeSantis said. “And so he’s not shutting down the virus he’s helping to facilitate in our country.”
The facility in Donna became a concern in March, when images surfaced showing packed conditions during a media blackout at the detention centers. It led to White House press pecretary Jen Psaki to say border detention facilities are “not places made for children.”
When Associated Press reporters later toured the facility, it was reported to be packed with more than 4,100 people. The facility was reportedly supposed to have a 250-person capacity.
The Biden administration had planned to move $860 million in COVID-relief funds to pay for pandemic-related costs for migrant children.
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