Broken Border

Photos show almost 400 migrants packed in cages at Texas processing center

Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant processing center in McAllen on Friday. According to reporters who accompanied him, the tour showed hundreds of men in cages without mats to sleep on, and some migrants hadn't showered in days.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent monitors adult male detainees at a Border Patrol station in McAllen during a visit to the facility by Vice President Mike Pence.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent monitors adult male detainees at a Border Patrol station in McAllen during a visit to the facility by Vice President Mike Pence.  REUTERS/Verónica G. Cárdenas
Broken Border

A surge of migrants arriving at the Texas-Mexico border has pushed the country's immigration system to the breaking point as new policies aimed at both undocumented immigrants and legal asylum seekers have contributed to a humanitarian crisis. The Texas Tribune is maintaining its in-depth reporting on this national issue.

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Photos of a packed migrant processing center in McAllen on Friday show nearly 400 men packed behind fences with no mats or pillows.

The photos came from members of the media during a tour Vice President Mike Pence took Friday, and they show some of the conditions immigrants crossing the border are facing. The United States has seen a surge of immigration this year that has officials calling the situation an ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis. According to The Washington Post, a border patrol agent in charge of the facility said many of men hadn’t showered in “10 or 20 days.” The shelter previously lacked showers.

One report of the vice president's tour described the smell as "horrendous." Some border patrol agents were wearing face masks.

The McAllen tour came the same day that Texas lawmakers criticized the federal government's treatment of migrants and questioned whether state agencies and officials could provide humanitarian assistance. The conditions at some of the processing centers for migrants have been gotten attention from the media, Congress and the public for weeks.

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View a video from Reuters showing Pence and migrants inside the shelter here:

Earlier this summer, The Texas Tribune reported that some migrants didn't "shower or brush their teeth for days on end," and sick children could often be heard coughing and crying through the night. Yet other migrants described conditions in which they got plenty of food and were well cared for — illustrating how conditions can be very different from one location to the next.