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Watchdog releases photos of overcrowding inside Texas migrant detention facilities

Overcrowding was observed by the Office of the Inspector General on June 10 at the Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, station.
Overcrowding was observed by the Office of the Inspector General on June 10 at the Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, station.Office of the Inspector General

A government watchdog is warning of dangerous conditions inside migrant detention facilities in Texas, releasing photos of the conditions inside the centers that show a crush of people inside cells, some begging for help.

“We encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley,” the Office of the Inspector General said in a letter to DHS officials.

The agency released photos of overcrowding it observed during its visit last month, with some rooms in housing double the number of their intended capacity.

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“At one facility, some single adults were held in standing room only conditions for a week and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells,” the report said.

Migrants made efforts to get the attention of inspectors, the report said.

“When detainees observed us, they banged on the cell windows, shouted, pressed notes to the window with their time in custody, and gestured to evidence of their time in custody,” the report said.

One sign held up by a detainee said “help” and indicated he’d been detained for 40 days.

The photo release comes a day after more than a dozen House members, including three from Massachusetts, visited facilities in El Paso and Clint, Texas, and detailed grim findings of what they saw inside.

See the photos below:

Eighty-eight adult men were held in a cell built for 41. One man held up a sign indicating he’d been there for 40 days.
Eighty-eight adult men were held in a cell built for 41. One man held up a sign indicating he’d been there for 40 days. Office of the Inspector General
Families were crowded into the Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, Centralized Processing Center on June 10.
Families were crowded into the Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, Centralized Processing Center on June 10. Office of the Inspector General
A overcrowded room of families was seen by inspectors on June 11 at the Border Patrol’s Weslaco, Texas, station.
A overcrowded room of families was seen by inspectors on June 11 at the Border Patrol’s Weslaco, Texas, station.Office of the Inspector General
A cell with standing room only at Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, station.
A cell with standing room only at Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, station. Office of the Inspector General
Fifty-one women were held in a cell designed for 40 male children (left) and 71 men were held in a cell built for 41 women at the Border Patrol’s Fort Brown station.
Fifty-one women were held in a cell designed for 40 male children (left) and 71 men were held in a cell built for 41 women at the Border Patrol’s Fort Brown station. Office of the Inspector General