By Noman Merchant, JONATHAN LEMIRE & JOSH BOAK, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden’s administration has tried for weeks when the children of immigrants who were in custody in the US were sleeping on a mat under a foil blanket, isolated in groups by plastic partitions is.
Administration officials have consistently refused to hold more than 15,000 children in US custody, or the circumstances in which they are living, called it a crisis. But they have made the most efforts by outsiders to decide for themselves.
Authorities bar nonprofit lawyers, who monitor a border petrol tent from entering, where thousands of children and teenagers are detained. And federal agencies have rejected or ignored dozens of requests from the media for access to detention sites. Such access was granted several times by President Donald Trump’s administration, whose restrictive immigration approach vowed to reverse Biden.
The new president is facing increasing criticism for explicit secrecy on the border, including fellow Democrats.
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Monday, “The administration’s commitment to transparency to ensure that the news media gets the opportunity to report on every aspect of what is happening on the border.”
White House press secretary Jane Saki said the White House was working with Homeland Security officials and the Department of Health and Human Services to “finalize the details” and expected “an update in the coming days.” “
Axios first published a series of photos taken inside the Border Patrol Detention Center on Monday, a huge tent facility to the south Texas City of Donna. The photos were released by Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat from the border town of Laredo.
US Customs and Border Protection, which includes Border Patrol, released its set of photos and videos on Tuesday from facilities in Donna and El Paso, Texas. Donna’s photographs show some of the same detention areas as the images released by Cuellar. The agency says it is “working to balance the need for public transparency and accountability” while still denying access to most external visitors.
Cuellar said he released the photos partly because the administration has refused to use the media for the Donna tent. He said he also wanted to draw attention to the extreme challenges that border agents face in seeing many children, sometimes a three-day border patrol limit on detaining minors for a week or more in spite of.
“We want to take care of those children, just like they are our own children,” Cuellar said.
Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the US should allow media access to border facilities while respecting the privacy of migrants locked inside. He noted the risk of sharing without the permission of children who have already suffered trauma.
“We should be aware of these situations,” Saenz said. “People have to watch them so that they can assess inhumanity and adopt more humane policies than expected.”
The White House has been proud of the methodical rollout of its policy during its first 50-plus days, but West Wing allies have privately admitted that they were spared the growth of migrants on the border and the resulting media fiasco.
Republican lawmakers largely debated the administration’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. While none of them voted for the package, their opposition was muted and they focused on issues of culture war, such as some Drs. Instead of a debate on racial stereotypes in Cess’s books, rather than bills that were widely popular with GOP voters.
But the GOP has held the borderline position with both hands, reviving the key issue to push Trump to the top of Republican territory in 2016. In 2018, the Trump administration detained hundreds of children from several facilities. Now they were used after separating them from their parents. The following year, hundreds of families and children detained at a West Texas border station went days without adequate food, water, or soap.
Biden has kept the Trump-era public health order and expelled thousands of immigrant adults and families, but refused to expel immigrant children without parents by a federal appeals court in January. He also moved to speed the reunification of hundreds of different immigrant families.
“What Trump did was terrible,” Cuellar said. “These photos show you that even under our best intentions, and the Biden administration has the best intentions, it is still very difficult.”
Cuellar said the White House needs to work more with Mexico and Central America to prevent people from leaving their homes. The White House said on Monday that key officials would travel to Mexico and Guatemala this week.
Sen. Chris Murphy, A Connecticut Last week, Democrats visiting a facility in El Paso, Texas, told NPR, “We want to make sure the press has access to hold the administration accountable.”
The Associated Press has requested access to border facilities for more than a month. Reporters first called Health and Human Services on 4 February. The reopening facility was allowed to hold hundreds of juveniles in Carrizo Springs, Texas. And he has asked Homeland Security officials to have access to border petrol facilities at least seven times without any response. The AP has also petitioned Saki to open border facilities.
Under Trump, border agencies allowed homeland security and limited media tours of both health and human service facilities. Disturbing situations occurred inside many of those visits, including the detention of a large number of children, while 5 children were separated from their parents.
Under Biden, agencies have denied full access to nonprofit lawyers who inspect facilities where children are detained. Those oversight visits are under the disposal of a federal court.
When lawyers this month visited the Border Patrol facility in Donna, where thousands of children are now in custody, agents refused to let them in and the Justice Department said they were not entitled to access. Lawyers were forced to interview outside children. The Department of Justice declined to comment.
Newly published photographs released by Cuellar’s office crowd groups of children together inside the division. Some appear while watching TV, while some lie on the floor, some on the side. Children are shown wearing surgical masks but are close to each other.
The Donna facility has large interconnect tents. Overhead photos taken by the AP depict outdoor areas where children can go. But lawyers interviewing Donna’s detained children say they can leave for some days without permission to go out.
The administration is in the running to take out about 5,000 children from border patrol detention and to open up more space for health and human services facilities that are better suited for youth. It has led parents and other sponsors in the US to try to expedite the release of children in HHS custody, but border agents continue to have more children daily than HHS, even though by 40% in the system Have more young parents. Or legal guardians who could take them.
Meanwhile, the administration is looking at its emergency facilities for immigrant children almost as quickly as it can open them. According to HHS, the Downtown Dallas Convention Center has fewer than 1,500 teens after a week and expects to have 500 more teens on Monday. It currently has a capacity of 2,300 people.
Reported from Lemire New York And businessman from Houston.
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