Photos of a detention center housing separated migrant children

migrants arrested us-mexico border
Border-patrol agents apprehending immigrants who illegally crossed the Mexico-US border in the Rio Grande Valley sector, near McAllen, Texas, on April 5.

Reuters/Loren Elliot

Images of a detention center for immigrant children show the conditions in which nearly 1,500 boys are being sheltered in Brownsville, Texas.

The MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff and other journalists toured the facility. Soboroff reported his observations and some pictures of the facility in a lengthy Twitter thread Wednesday night.

Inside the facility, called Casa Padre, are painted murals of presidents that feature quotes, including one in English and Spanish of President Donald Trump saying, “Sometimes losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” Soboroff reported.

The reporter said nearly every room in the facility was housing five children even though rooms were constructed to house four. Children were allowed to leave the complex for only two hours each day, with some spending time inside watching the Disney animated film “Moana” and learning about US history, Soboroff reported.


“This place is called a shelter, but effectively these kids are incarcerated,” Soboroff said on MSNBC, pointing to photos he took during a tour supervised by the US Health and Human Services Department. One of those photos showed an unidentified child having a barcode that was attached to his wrist being scanned, as he stood in line with a tray of food.

According to Soboroff, one of the first things a shelter employee asked journalists to do was to smile at the kids because they would otherwise feel like animals locked up in a cage.

Casa Padre, which reportedly used to be a Walmart, is operated by Southwest Key, a firm that runs more than a dozen shelters in Texas housing unaccompanied immigrant children, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The organization is contracted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Health and Human Services Department, which manages minors suspected of crossing the US border illegally and oversees their transfer to family custody or foster care.

While some children cross the border illegally without family members, the Trump administration has also implemented what it calls a “zero-tolerance” policy with regard to illegal border crossings by immigrant families. The policy calls for adults to be criminally prosecuted, causing them to lose custody of the children accompanying them.

The policy has been deeply controversial and emotionally fraught.


Miguel Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender, told CNN that roughly 500 children had been separated from their parents since May.

Here are some photos of Casa Padre: