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Over 4,000 migrants crowded into Texas facility: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The US administration has for the first time allowed some journalists to get into its main border detention facility for migrant children in Texas, a report says.

Following the pressures, the US President Joe Biden’s administration finally allowed a number of journalists from The Associated Press and CBS to have a tour inside a facility in Donna, Texas, on Tuesday.

“More than 4,100 people were being housed on the property Tuesday. Most were unaccompanied children processed in tents before being taken to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services and then placed with a family member, relative or sponsor,” the AP report said.

“The children were being housed by the hundreds in eight ‘pods’ formed by plastic dividers, each about 3,200 square feet (297 square meters) in size. Many of the pods had more than 500 children in them,” the report added.

After taking office in January, Biden has ordered the reunification of migrant children with their families, halted construction of the border wall and called for reviews of legal immigration programs terminated by Trump.

Republicans, however, have accused the president of ignoring the deteriorating crisis at the southern border caused by influx of migrants, mostly escaping violence in Central and Southern America.

The surge of arrivals at the border is putting pressure on processing systems with a record number of children - 3,200 - being held in US immigration facilities as of 8 March.

Immigration officials are now transferring unaccompanied minors found crossing the border to another federal agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

However, a dramatic increase in children arriving without parents or legal guardians has exceeded shelter capacity, which was previously reduced by 40% to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden faces mounting criticism over border refugee crisis amid the squalid conditions of migrants at border.


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