A California Democrat said Thursday that it would be inappropriate for reporters to see child migrant detention facilities.
Rep. Linda Sánchez said on “CNN Newsroom” that congressional members weren’t permitted into the facilities while former President Donald Trump was in office. She said kids are being processed as fast as possible, given coronavirus measures and social distancing, which prevent the facilities from being fully used.
“I don’t necessarily think that it’s appropriate for journalists to be inside centers that are not permanent places for children, that children are not placed there permanently,” Sánchez said. “They’re processed out of those facilities as quickly as possible and as quickly as the facilities will allow.”
Reporters aren’t permitted into the unaccompanied minor detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“These detention facilities at the border were not meant for children. Children are meant to be in licensed facilities, but because of the numbers and because of the social distancing that’s required, they are doing the best that they can,” Sánchez said.
The facility was originally opened in 2019 during the Trump administration. The Biden administration recently reopened the detention facility to address the surge in unaccompanied minors at the southern border.
The shelter system for migrant children journeying through the border was already at 94% capacity in the beginning of March and is on track to reach overcapacity by the end of the month, internal Department of Health and Human Services documents show, according to a March 4 Axios report.
“They are doing the best that they can under COVID protocols. If it were not a pandemic, I would totally understand the concern, but we are dealing in a unique set of circumstances that are unprecedented,” Sánchez said.
“You can’t fault an administration that is doing everything humanly possible to treat these kids in a humane way given the limitations that they have because of COVID,” Sánchez said.