CNN Reporter Priscilla Alvarez said Monday that migrant children centers are “jail-like” and look similar to concrete “prison cells.”
“Those are facilities that are not intended for them, they look like jail-like conditions, like prison cells with concrete walls and concrete benches, and these kids are spending more than the three-day limit than they’re supposed to according to federal law,” Alvarez said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The administration is racing here to find enough space for these kids that is suitable for them.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said March 16 that the number of apprehensions at the southern border is on pace to reach a 20-year high, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas said the majority of adults who are single are being turned away at the border as well as families, but unaccompanied children aren’t being returned.
“You have more kids coming into U.S. custody, but just not enough space to put them in shelters. So that means that these kids are staying in border patrol facilities for prolonged periods of time,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said children are held at the facilities longer than 72 hours since Customs and Border Protection “just can’t keep up” with the increasing numbers of minors coming to the southern border.
“The number of children crossing is creating a bottleneck in the system, so they’re coming into border patrol custody, but the administration doesn’t have enough shelter space for them,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said there isn’t enough room for migrant children at the facilities because the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the shelters from operating at full capacity under President Joe Biden’s administration.