Leaked Photos: Children Packed In Border Facilities
SAN ANTONIO — Photos leaked Thursday from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in the Rio Grande Valley show overflowing holding facilities of immigrants, many of whom are children.
The photos, obtained by the conservative website Breitbart, show hundreds of immigrants believed to be in the country illegally from Central America and Mexico being held in crowded concrete rooms similar to a jail cell. Many of the children appear to be teenagers but some clearly are younger.
The photos have a timestamp of May 27, 2014.
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency has not “officially released any photos at this time in order to protect the rights and privacy of unaccompanied minors in our care.”
“The influx of unaccompanied children across the southwest border has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation,” the CBP spokesperson said. “It requires a whole of government coordinated and sustained response.”
President Barack Obama has directed an effort, lead by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to provide resources and “humanitarian relief to affected children,” which is a “priority,” the spokesperson said.
It is unclear who leaked the photos to Breitbart.
“Given the deteriorating security and economic conditions in the Central American countries where most of these children and adult immigrants came from, it’s hard to understand how Department of Homeland Security didn’t see this coming,” Sylvia Longmire, a contributor to Breitbart who focuses on border issues, said on the website. “Now, the results of this mismanagement are thousands of individuals living in inhumane conditions for an indeterminate period of time, as well as exhausted and overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and CBP detention facilities.”
The overwhelming numbers of undocumented immigrants during recent months has impacted San Antonio.
A temporary shelter at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland has housed and provided services to 1,820 unaccompanied minors from Central America since May 18, San Antonio Express-News reporter Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje reported. The immigration is part of a “surge” of children said to be fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, she reported.
For more details on this story, including the conditions of the facility at Lackland, read Fletcher Stoeltje’s story at ExpressNews.com or in Friday’s print edition of the San Antonio Express-News.