Authorities relocated hundreds of illegal migrants temporarily held under a bridge to an indoor Customs and Border Protection station in El Paso, Texas.
The hundreds of migrants caged underneath the Paso Del Norte Bridge in downtown El Paso — a photo of which garnered widespread derision among Democratic politicians — are now in an indoor facility, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed. From there, authorities will begin processing the migrants.
“Although aliens that were being held in the transitional area are being moved, the building adjacent to Paso Del Norte will continue to serve as a processing facility. The transition should be completed today,” the CBP spokesman said Sunday.
The decision to congregate hundreds of illegal aliens under the Paso Del Norte Bridge was a result of overwhelmed detention facilities having nowhere else to place them. Their resources already stretched thin, immigration enforcement officials constructed fencing under the overpass as a temporary measure. Every detainee was given food, blankets, tents and other basic necessities, according to El Paso Sector spokesman Agent Ramiro Cordero. (RELATED: Kirstjen Nielsen: Crisis At The Border Is Getting Worse By The Day)
“CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border, and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told The Washington Post.
The temporary holding facility earned widespread condemnation from progressives when video of the camp began to circulate on social media in late March.
This is what the Paso Del Norte Border Patrol station in El Paso looks like today. The queue of migrants who turned themselves in is stretched to the parking lot. pic.twitter.com/PTSblYP74R
— Valerie Gonzalez (@ValOnTheBorder) March 27, 2019
Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar described the detainment center as “inhumane” and “abhorrent.”
This is abhorrent and inhumane.
It’s without a doubt a reflection of what white nationalism is doing to our country. As a country, we have to acknowledge that this is how people are being treated here and decide that we are better and we must do better. https://t.co/5YNAJFNZo7
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 28, 2019
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the camp was unacceptable and renewed her calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Look at this picture.
When you’re looking at this photo, you’re looking at a mirror. This is America. This is Texas. This is our the course of action, the one we chose.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 28, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso during his time in Congress, visited the camp.
Just went under the bridge where refugees and asylum seekers are being held. Kids, moms, and families trapped for days at a time in our name. Will continue pushing for answers so we can put an end to this. pic.twitter.com/jHnrFOE11c
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 29, 2019
The outdoor camp was first constructed because, as officials argue, they do not have the resources to cope with the influx of illegal immigrants reaching the border. While Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have criticized the Department of Homeland Security for the camp, both lawmakers have previously called for funding cuts to the department.
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