U.S. Border Patrol detained over 11,000 unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the border illegally in the first three weeks of March, more than in the entire month of February, CNN reported on Monday.
Detentions of migrant children have increased from 5,600 in January, to 9,300 in February, and now 11,000 children between February 28 and March 20, according to preliminary data reviewed by CNN. The number of unaccompanied minors detained in March 2020 is on track to surpass the 11,400 detentions recorded in May 2019.
The influx of migrant children has caused crowding issues at detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas), whose district sits on the border in the Rio Grande valley, shared photographs taken inside one facility during the past past month.
Border Patrol agents are “doing the best they can under the circumstances” but are “not equipped to care for kids,” Cuellar told Axios on Monday.
The Biden administration has restricted the Border Patrol’s ability to communicate with media outlets during the migrant influx. The administration has not provided photographs from inside detention facilities directly to the media, and has refused reporter requests to visit migrant shelters.
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who will be visiting the southern border with colleague John Cornyn later this week, called on the the administration to allow media organizations access to the facilities.
“It is not enough for members of the Senate to see what is happening — the American people must see,” Cruz said in a statement on Monday. “That is why I requested that members of the media be allowed to join us. But your administration clearly and emphatically refused to offer press access.”