Customs and Border Protection recently opened a new detention center in South Texas equipped to hold as many as 1,000 migrants. The facility, located outside the small town of Donna and adjacent to a bridge connecting Texas to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, consists of a large canvas structure resembling a tent. CBP officials explained that they need additional confinement capacity to hold migrants, especially those coming from Central America. Officials claim that migrants will be detained at the Donna site for no more than 72-hours. News reports peg the facility’s cost at approximately $3.8 million.
On a recent trip to South Texas, I stopped by the Donna center. A security guard was not too happy about my presence and quickly informed me that I couldn’t step foot on the road leading to the detention center. When I asked if I was in the right place, he responded, “I can’t answer that question.” Needless to say, I was in the right place. Once I had removed myself from the prohibited roadway, I snapped a few photographs some of which are below.
Though I wasn’t able to enter the facility, Carlos Moctezuma García, an attorney with García and García Attorneys at Law, PLLC, participated in a tour a few weeks earlier before any migrants had been brought in. A video he captured is below.
There is no denying that these are cages. Migrants, including women and children, are being held without any privacy, without even the most rudimentary of furnishings, and without unrestricted access to bathrooms or medical personnel.
Coming after ICE announced contracts for two immigration detention centers counting almost 3,000 beds, CBP’s decision to open the Donna facility further concretizes the Obama Administration’s consistent support of immigration imprisonment.