In light of the recent situation regarding families and unaccompanied minors being taken into custody along the U.S./Mexico Border in Texas and their subsequent centers in Donna and El Paso, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released photos and video of the centers, as well as statements on the situation.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez’s statement is below:
“Currently, we are experiencing a high number of encounters in the West Texas/New Mexico region. These encounters include families and unaccompanied children. The highest population for the El Paso Sector is unaccompanied children with a 96 percent increase compared to February Year-to-date FY20. By law, CBP cannot expel unaccompanied children. Therefore, all unaccompanied children are temporarily held and processed at our U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector Central Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. The recent surge of unaccompanied children in addition to family units is beginning to impact our capacity. We are working closely with Health and Human Services/Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for the placement of children as CBP’s ability to move children out of its care is directly tied to available space at HHS ORR. We are also in close coordination with our local and county stakeholders; as well as our local non-governmental organization shelter network to assist with these increased family unit encounters.”
“Since Monday, March 8, 2021, the El Paso Sector has been receiving for a varying number family units daily from the South Texas region. Our priority is to process them and expel them into Mexico under Title 42; however, we work very closely with the Government of Mexico and they also have capacity issues that we have to consider; therefore, only a limited amount of families from the region and from South Texas can be expelled into Ciudad Juarez daily in coordination with Mexico Immigration officials. This has prompted us to coordinate with local El Paso city and county officials and non-governmental organizations to coordinate the release of families from the South Texas region to our local NGO shelter network.”
“We are very fortunate to have such a diverse group of folks with different missions consciously aware of the COVID 19 pandemic, working closely together as a community, both in Mexico and U.S., to balance national security responsibilities, the health and well-being of our workforce and those in our custody, and keeping our communities safe.”
WASHINGTON – CBP continues to transfer unaccompanied minors to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as quickly and efficiently as possible after they are apprehended on the Southwest Border.
In order to protect the health and safety of our workforce and those in our care we continue to discourage external visitors in our facilities; however, CBP is working to balance the need for public transparency and accountability.
Still imagery and video are now available of the Donna Processing Center in Donna, Texas and the Central Processing Center in El Paso, Texas.
Raw Video of El Paso Temporary Processing Center provided by CBP
Photos of Donna, Texas Processing Center by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs – Visual Communications Division
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