Overcrowding and disease at a temporary immigration detention center in McAllen has the U.S. Border Patrol themselves calling on congress for humanitarian aid.
Because of the McAllen facility's temporary status, capacity is about 300. But this past week Border Patrol agents brought in 1,000 immigrants and the situation has Chris Cabrera with the local Border Patrol agent's union calling on Congress for help.
"It’s a humanitarian-type deal as far as seeing these people going through what they’re going through just because we don’t have any bed space,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera said many of the immigrants are being forced to sleep outside and in the facility's garage. He said the holding station doesn’t have a shower and there is outbreak of scabies that is making it’s way through the inmate and guard populations. Cabrera said he has informed the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and local fire marshal about the situation.
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, whose district stretches along the border from north of Laredo down to McAllen, said congress has added money for additional beds.
“But the facilities have been the same," Cuellar said. "You can’t build facilities, they’re expensive, you can bring personnel over. So that’s what’s been happening is the increase has been more than double from last year and we’re still counting."
An internal Border Patrol report obtained by the Associated Press shows a shift in the highest number of illegal crossings from the state of Arizona to Texas. From Oct. 1 through May 17, agents in Texas made more than 148,000 arrests, That compares to nearly 63,000 arrests in the Tucson, Arizona sector, which it surpassed for the first time just last year.
The Rio Grande Valley has been averaging 1,100 arrest per day for the last week.
“Catch and release is not an option, but every other solution is costly and timely, especially considering that next year a budget agreement that involves resources for the Border Patrol is sequestered," Cuellar said.