Former federal housing secretary and Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro made a campaign stop in the Borderland Saturday, visiting the Clint Border Patrol station and an Annunciation House migrant shelter.
Castro showed up at the Clint station without advance notice, according to officials, and was not allowed inside. He still spoke about conditions in the station.
“I heard from lawyers, from advocates, from activists, non-profit leaders, faith leader,” Castro told reporters Saturday.
But none of those groups have been allowed into the detention areas, and lawyers did not go beyond interview and conference rooms. ABC-7 was part of a select group of journalists given a tour earlier this week, however cameras were not allowed inside.
“Children are living in terrible conditions, many of them crowded into the same room,” Castro said.
ABC-7 reporters did see children in crowded cells, some of them were on the floor with blankets as Castro claimed.
“A lot of these children experience depression. They experience anxiety because they’ve been separated from their parents,” Castro said. He would repeat the separation claim several times.
However, an ABC-7 fact check found the migrant children at Clint have not been separated from their parents by the U.S. They are all unaccompanied children who came into the U.S. on their own or with an adult that was not a parent or sibling.
“I also hear about the tremendous generosity that has been shown by the community of people who are trying to donate,” Castro said.
Castro is right that Border Patrol has not accepting donations by well-meaning visitors. Officials say this is because they have no way to check the quality or safety of gifts compared to officially purchased items.
State Rep. Will Hurd (D TX-23), who did get to tour the facility, said he doesn’t believe these stations are suitable.
“I saw what I’ve seen in a lot of the facilities I’ve been in. This is a facility where you do not want to house anybody, let alone children, for any length of time,’ Hurd said.
Hurd said the root causes of the problem was an overcrowded system as a whole and push factors driving people out of Central America.
Castro also proposed his positions on how to solve the migrant crisis.
El Paso’s presidential hopeful, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, is also expected to visit the Clint station on Sunday.