Journalists were allowed in for the first time Tuesday to see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s biggest facility for unaccompanied migrant children—and returned with shocking details. Kids with foil blankets sat shoulder to shoulder inside plastic “pods.” Each pod was made to house 32 people but held more than 500 kids, all wearing masks but not tested for COVID-19 unless symptomatic, the AP reports. Younger kids are held in walled playpens. In all, the tent facility in Donna, Texas, which opened Feb. 9, now holds more than 4,100 migrants, though under CDC pandemic guidelines it should have no more than 250 people. Oscar Escamilla, the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector’s acting executive officer, told the AP the positivity rate at the center was 14 percent. The kids are supposed to stay no more than three days at the facility, but a Department of Health and Human Services backlog meant they’re held much longer, with hundreds more unaccompanied migrant minors crossing the border each day.
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