A Republican senator said he was told to delete photos that he took of migrant facilities during a recent visit to the U.S.–Mexico border.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, told Fox News on April 4 that officials told GOP senators to delete photos captured at various Border Patrol facilities.
“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. They are crammed in like sardines. And this is what the Biden administration is trying to hide from the American public.
“We were told to delete the pictures. No one did. You’ve seen the video coming out of all of these kids crammed together under the foil blankets, huddling together.” The senator didn’t say who told him to delete the photos. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and White House have faced criticism from members of the media, including an award-winning Getty Images photographer, about a lack of access to border facilities.
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) posted a video from within a Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas, saying that a Biden administration staffer told him not to film unaccompanied children who were being held in cramped conditions inside makeshift tent-like structures.
“Please give dignity to the people. Please give dignity to the people. … Please respect the people, the rules,” the person told Cruz while blocking the camera with her face, according to footage.
Cruz ultimately said in response to the woman: “I understand that you were instructed.
“I respect them, and I want to fix this situation, and the administration that you work for is responsible for these conditions.”
As a result of the lack of media access and claims from Cruz and Barrasso, some lawmakers have opted to leak photos from inside the facilities. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) sent photos of children being housed in cramped quarters, sleeping under foil emergency blankets.
Barrasso also said that testing for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, is done after the children leave Border Patrol facilities. He argued that such a procedure doesn’t prevent the virus from spreading.
“They do the instant test. And then those that have been tested positive are just kind of moved to one side of the courtyard, those negative to the other of this courtyard,” Barrasso told Fox.
“They’ve all been exposed, and then they’re sent all across the country. You know, that is the real tragedy of this. And we’re not sure what variant of the coronavirus they’re carrying. They are carrying it, though, all around America.”