McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — As criticism about the prolonged detention of undocumented migrant children mounts, at least two Texas lawmakers are scheduled to tour a controversial and newly opened migrant detention facility for teens Friday in the South Texas town of Carrizo Springs.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told Border Report on Thursday that he will tour the Carrizo Springs facility, which holds undocumented migrants ages 13-17 and is located 125 miles southwest of San Antonio in a rural and desolate stretch of South Texas. The facility is run by U.S. Health and Human Services, which cares for undocumented migrant youth who are in the United States.
“I haven’t visited that facility yet. I will be visiting the Carrizo Springs facility very soon. We will take a look at it,” Cuellar told Border Report during a Thursday morning Zoom interview.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also disclosed that he would be taking part in the Friday visit to the Carrizo Springs facility with Cuellar.
This is the same facility that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a White House delegation of 13 visited on Saturday to explore the growing situation, Cuellar said.
Cuellar and Cornyn are to meet in Carrizo Springs with the U.S. Border Patrol Sector Chief for the Del Rio Sector, Austin Skero, and representatives from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Cornyn said.
They will then travel to Cuellar’s hometown of Laredo, Texas, and hold a roundtable discussion with local leaders and the media on the ongoing surge of migrants that is occurring and the hundreds of undocumented migrants who are being released daily by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and sent from the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo, El Paso and San Antonio.
Cuellar says the timing of Friday’s visit comes as the White House this week has made a point to not describe the situation on the Southwest border as a crisis, but he says it is. He says detention facilities are overrun, undocumented migrants are being released without COVID-19 tests and at least 118 have shown to have the virus. This includes 108 in Brownsville and at least 9 in El Paso.
“There’s two messages: One, they’re trying to say that they’re not in cages, you know, so they’re counter trying to counter that,” Cuellar said. He said they’re also trying to show to Republicans that it’s not “a resort.”
Cuellar said he requested that media be allowed on the tour but he told Border Report that was rejected by DHS officials. Cuellar is vice chairman of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, which oversees all funding for DHS.
Border Report has reached out to DHS officials and has requested a tour of the Carrizo Springs facility and more information on the lawmakers’ scheduled trip. This story will be updated if more information is received.