Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said after visiting a facility in Texas where teens from mostly Central America are being housed that conditions are good and that minor migrants are not being held in cages today nor in the past.
Tax-payer funded National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Cuellar on its weekend All Things Considered program about his take on what is taking place as a migrant surge continues.
“Officials decided to reopen a facility in the town of Carrizo Springs, Texas, once used briefly by the Trump administration to house young migrants,” host Michel Martin said. “Back in 2019, the opening of that facility drew protests from immigrant advocates.”
Martin repeated the false claim that former President Donald Trump held children in cages, citing “enduring images,” but Cuellar rejected the narrative, which was also rejected at large after the photos the media used were found to date back to the Barack Obama administration.
Martin also pointed out that Cuellar has not previously agreed with critics’ charge of maltreatment of minors in U.S. custody at the border, including during the Trump administration.
“So at the time of its opening, this particular facility, as we said, drew protests,” Martin said. “Some likened it to concentration camps. I take it you disagree with that. I think you disagreed with it then, and I assume you disagree with that now.”
First of all, let me say about the place – they set up places where they have a place for legal services,” Cuellar said. “They have a place there for education, where they do long-distance learning, medical and cafeteria. They’re not cages. I can tell you that much,” Cuellar said. “But it’s a facility that’s being run by a vendor, a contractor that’s been doing this for many years. And FEMA uses them, and, of course, HHS uses them also.
Martin said the facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, drew protests when it opened under Trump and again after the Biden administration reopened it. Martin noted that Cuellar has not been one of those critics.
I can tell you it’s not a concentration camp by far. It is not a – you know, kids are being kept in cages. We saw where they slept. We saw where they shower. We saw where they get educated. We saw where they get legal services. We saw where they were first brought in and given new clothes and – so they can be here. So, you know, with all due respect, it’s not that at all.
Cuellar also said the increasing number of migrants trying to enter the U.S. is occurring because Biden had ended Trump’s policies, including requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are litigated.
And remember, you know, people that say, well, the pull factors – you know, Biden has gotten rid of all of his policies, and therefore the numbers are coming higher. I would remind people that under the Obama administration, about 513,000 people would come in per year average. Under Trump, it was 493,000 people. Almost – except for a difference of 20,000, it was almost the same. And people would say, oh, look at all of those policies by Trump. And, you know, it worked. The reality is it was almost the same numbers under Trump and Obama.
But Cuellar said the desire to live in the United States is a good thing.
“We’re still the country that everybody admires and everybody wants to come in,” he said. “And as long as we’re the best country in the world, people are going to try to come into the United States.”
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to email@example.com