FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2021
DONNA, Texas – Today, U.S. House Homeland Border Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Nanette Diaz Barragán joined U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas in Texas to receive updates on unaccompanied children arriving at our Southern Border and view conditions at the Customs and Border Protection Donna Processing Facility. Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar also took part in the visit.
This was Chairwoman Barragán’s second trip to the Donna Processing Facility (Donna) in the last three weeks.
After today’s oversight visit, Chairwoman Barragán made the following statement:
“Today I saw remarkable progress at Donna. In the three weeks since I was last here, the number of individuals being held at this facility has declined significantly, especially unaccompanied children. Children are also spending less time in border patrol custody. From a high of 133 hours in late March, today, no child has been at Donna for more than 24 hours.
“DHS has come a long way. As Secretary Mayorkas stated, a border patrol processing center is no place for a child. Under his leadership, DHS has taken action to execute a plan. The results, in such a short period of time, show dramatic progress.
“When I was last here, I asked a group of children if they had made a telephone call and very few hands went up. Then I asked them if they wanted to make a phone call, almost all their hands went up. It appeared many children didn’t know they could make a phone call. As a result of that exchange, DHS posted various picture signs throughout the facility to ensure individuals know they have a right to ask to make a call. Today, I was able to see these signs with pictures, showing kids they may ask for a phone call, food, medical care, a toothbrush, other personal hygiene supplies, and more. Today, every person I spoke to had already made phone calls.
“Conditions have improved significantly but we still have a lot of work to do to fix our broken immigration system and restore trust in it. Until we take action to enact permanent long-term solutions, we will continue to see the same irregular migration patterns. Those actions include rebuilding an immigration system dismantled by the prior Administration, addressing the root causes driving migration in the Central America, and passing comprehensive immigration reform.”
For video of Chairwoman Barragán’s comments at the new conference after today’s oversight visit, click here.
When Chairwoman Barragán last toured this facility on April 17, there were approximately 2,200 individuals at the Donna Processing Facility. Today there were fewer than 800.
In April, unaccompanied children in CBP custody along the southwest border spent an average of 78 hours awaiting transfer to HHS. Now the average time is less than 30 hours.
Yesterday, Chairwoman Barragán conducted an oversight visit of the Long Beach Convention Center Emergency Intake Site, which serves as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children and is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security.