MISSION, Texas — A temporary Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas, that is meant to hold a maximum of 250 people was holding more than 5,700 people Monday, putting it at 22 times over the legal limit, according to two government officials with firsthand knowledge of the numbers.
The extreme overcrowding, which is of added concern because of the coronavirus pandemic, comes as the Biden administration struggles with a border crisis that has seen it take twice as many migrant children into custody as were held during the peak in 2019 during the Trump administration.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne, a Texas Republican who had toured the facility Monday as part of a delegation, said that it was significantly over capacity because other federal agencies are not accepting families and unaccompanied children quickly enough.
“No matter what you see from our small lenses is equal to the emotion that you feel when you see it in context. Pod after pod after pod of kids lying on the ground — barely enough room to even see,” Van Duyne said during a press conference on the Rio Grande River Tuesday. "They are trying to move them out as quickly as they can to decompression centers around the country where they are then filtering them out and processing through as quickly as possible."