Texas Rep. Documents Conditions for Illegals at Detention Center

Saturday, 14 Jun 2014 10:30 AM

By Todd Beamon

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A Texas Democrat was able to snap photos of illegal immigrant children housed in a holding center near the U.S. border with Mexico — unlike those members of Congress who visited a shelter set up at a California Navy base in a tour organized by Obama administration.

Rep. Henry Cuellar took pictures of hundreds of illegals, including children and youths traveling alone, at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Center in South Texas during a tour on Friday, MailOnline.com reports.

Cuellar released the pictures to illustrate the plight facing waves of illegals who have been crossing the border from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The deluge of illegals is causing a burden on the border states of Texas and Arizona, and officials had been transporting children from south Texas to Arizona and leaving them at various locations, including holding centers and bus stations.

The conditions have caused Republicans to blame Obama's immigration policies they attack as amnesty.

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In just the first six months of this fiscal year, more than 160,000 illegals have been arrested at the border in Texas, more than all those apprehended last year, MailOnline reports.

Don Ray, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, told MailOnline that the center is so overcrowded that border guards were running a strip of yellow police tape down the center of the detention facility to separate the children.

"The diseased kids sit on one side and the healthy children on the other," Ray said. "Hardly the best way to go about things."

He likened the relocation of the immigrants to those who were displaced after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

"You can’t have an influx of people like that without having an impact," Ray said.

A Border Patrol officer said that 200 extra officers had been called in to help at the center.

The pictures that Cuellar took on his cellphone showed illegals being held in wire cages, children sleeping in packed rooms on sheets of foil on concrete floors, and rows of adults who are sitting on the floors.

In one shot, as many as 40 people can be seen in crowding into rooms only large enough for 10, MailOnline reports.

But while Cuellar was able to snap pictures of the conditions at the Texas operation, that was not the case for members of Congress touring the Ventura County Naval Base in Oxnard, Calif., on Friday.

U.S. officials began sending illegal children to the base this week, The Daily Caller reports.

Others are housed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and the agency started sending migrant youths to Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Okla., this week.

Top Oklahoma Republicans last week ripped the Obama administration over plans to house as many as 600 illegals at Fort Sill. The estimated cost to taxpayers is $252 per child per day.

For the California tour, Congress members and their staffs were not allowed to take pictures of, record, or talk to any of the illegals housed there during the 40-minute tour, according to an email invitation obtained by the website.

The tour was being arranged by the Department of Health and Human Services.

"This isn’t some totalitarian closed society trying this tactic, this is our own government," a senior congressional staffer invited on the tour told Daily Caller. "They clearly wouldn’t be offering up this kind of dog-and-pony show if they weren’t hiding a very ugly truth somewhere.

"Don’t talk to anyone, don’t record anything you might happen to see, but come visit us and we’ll give you a sanitized story with only the photos and accounts we want you to have," said the staffer, who asked not to be named.

The invitation was sent by Rose Hacking, from the agency's office of the assistant secretary of legislation, Daily Caller reports.

It lists these restrictions:
  • "No recording devices will be allowed.
  • "No questions will be allowed during the tour, but questions will be addressed later.
  • "No interacting with staff and children at the shelter.
  • "We will provide photos of the facility after the tour."

In addition, "the tour guide will detail what goes on from room to room and the services youth are provided on a daily basis," the email says.

The Naval Base Ventura County can accommodate a total of 230 illegal migrants. Right now, 91 are housed there, the Daily Caller reports. But HHS plans to raise overall capacity to 575.

Fort Sill is expected to house 600 illegal minors, while Lackland AFB is near its capacity of 1,200, the Daily Caller reports.

Meanwhile, Hacking did not immediately respond to Daily Caller's request for comment.

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