GOP Senator John Barasso says Biden administration officials ordered him to ‘delete’ photos taken inside a migrant facility where kids are ‘crammed like sardines’
- Barasso said in an interview on Sunday that he was told to delete the photos
- GOP senator from Wyoming joined Ted Cruz’s border delegation last weekend
- He said that no member of the delegation heeded the order to delete the photos
- Recounted how unaccompanied minors are ‘crammed like sardines’ in facilities
Senator John Barasso has claimed that officials in the Biden administration ordered him to delete photos taken inside a migrant holding facility where unaccompanied minors are ‘crammed like sardines.’
‘We were told to delete the pictures,’ he said. ‘No one did. You’ve seen the video coming out of all of these kids crammed together under the foil blankets, huddling together.’
‘They are crammed in like sardines. And this is what the Biden administration is trying to hide from the American public,’ he said.
Senator John Barasso, a Wyoming Republican, spoke about his border visit in an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo
Barasso, seen second from right, joined Ted Cruz’s GOP delegation to the border last weekend
‘This is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security crisis,’ Barrasso said. ‘You may have seen the numbers today are the highest in history of unaccompanied minors currently in captivity.’
Cruz and other members of the delegation have previously made similar claims, saying that administration ‘flacks’ ordered them to delete photos, claiming they would violate children’s privacy. The delegation has released photos with the faces of migrants obscured.
President Joe Biden has denied that his policies have driven a surge in illegal border crossings, but Republican critics said his move to end key Trump administration policies has exacerbated the crisis.
Officials said on Friday the federal government may house unaccompanied migrant children on a California Army National Guard base in central California.
The Pentagon approved the use of Camp Roberts to temporarily house migrant children traveling alone, according to a defense official.
Young minors lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, on March 20
Ted Cruz shared this photo from inside the Donna facility last weekend
It was not immediately clear if or how many children could be placed at the camp, which is located along the Salinas River almost directly between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Saturday that the camp is ‘under active consideration.’ The department has not yet finalized its decision.
‘When HHS decides to activate an Emergency Influx Site for unaccompanied migrant children we will notify state and local authorities as well as members of Congress,’ the department said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had requested the use of the base, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed Thursday.
The California National Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Senators Thom Tillis, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are seen on their border excursion
Border authorities encountered more than 9,000 children without a parent in February, the highest single month since May 2019, when more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors came to the border.
After being processed by the Border Patrol, they are transferred to Health and Human Services. Eventually they will be released to a sponsor, usually a parent or close relative.
Unlike adults in many situations, all unaccompanied minors are allowed to stay in the U.S.
That dynamic has prompted many parents to either send kids on the journey to America alone, or get to the border and let them go the rest of the way. Most end up at least temporarily in shelters that are currently far beyond capacity.