Journalists Visited The Shelter For Detained Child Migrants In Texas & What's Inside Looks More Like A Prison

Under President Trump’s administration's new “zero tolerance” policy, anyone who illegally enters the United States is to be prosecuted and placed in jail. This has led to parents being separated from their children at the border, and those children are detained and placed into the custody of the government, as previously reported, as they are deemed unaccompanied minors.

According to The Cut, 1,358 children have been separated from their parents since the mandate was enacted in October, and for the first-time journalists have been allowed inside the facilities where these children have been living. 

MSNBC correspondent, Jacob Soboroff, visited one of these facilities on Wednesday in Brownsville, Texas, where more than 1,000 boys have been living in a former Wal-Mart.  Though he was not allowed to bring cameras inside, he described via Twitter what he saw. 

He described a mural of President Trump, depicted in photos later released by the Department of Health and Human Services, as one of the first things folks seen upon entering the shelter. In reference to the mural, Soboroff tweeted, “One of the first things you notice when you walk into the shelter – no joke – a mural of Trump with the quote “sometimes losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

The shelter, Casa Padre, is fit to sleep four to a room, but due to overcrowding, nearly every room has five. The boys are reportedly only allowed two hours outside, one of those is labeled structured time, while the other is free time. The rest of their day is spent inside.

Soboroff said, “I have been inside a federal prison and county jails. This placed is called a shelter but these kids are incarcerated. No cells and no cages, and they get to go to classes about American history and watch Moana, but they’re in custody.”

The shelter is run by trained staff who are employed through Southwest Key Program, an organization licensed to operate 26 similar facilities that house nearly half of the 11,200 children currently in federal custody, according to New York Magazine

“We’re trying to do the best that we can taking care of these children," Southwest Key’s founder and chief executive told reporters. "Our goal ultimately is to reunite kids with their families. We’re not a detention center. What we operate are shelters that take care of kids. It’s a big, big difference.”

There is no specific timeline or any information on when these children will be released and to whom they will be released to.