New photos released by Rep. Henry Cuellar's (D-Texas) office depict the unsanitary and cramped living conditions that undocumented immigrants, many of whom are unaccompanied children, are experiencing in a detention center near the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Barack Obama has previously called the buildup of unaccompanied minors at temporary border facilities an "urgent humanitarian situation," and the government has directed considerable resources to housing and caring for the children. Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, is supposed to turn over minors to the Department of Health and Human Services within three days, but many children are remaining in detention facilities for longer periods due to the massive influx.
Breitbart Texas released photos of the crisis in early June that showed the undocumented immigrants living in tight, hard-floored spaces. CBP is currently investigating reports that minors have been mistreated at those facilities.
Cuellar, who toured a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday with local officials, said in a press release on Monday that he believes federal officers "are doing all that they can under the circumstances to ensure every migrant is treated with dignity and respect."
"There is no strong protocol in place for dealing with Central American immigrants and some of the most important work left is to improve the process for returning them to their home countries," he said. "The United States needs to do a better job in working with Mexico to strengthen their southern border and to work with the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."
Vice President Joe Biden is set to travel to Latin America on Friday and will address the surge at the border.
(h/t: Business Insider)
Here are the photos, provided by Rep. Henry Cuellar's (D-Texas) office:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misattributed the original publication of the photographs at the border to Business Insider; they were first published by the Houston Chronicle.