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Biden administration releases images of migrant facilities at border

The Biden administration on Tuesday released video footage and photos of two Texas facilities housing migrant children amid pressure for more transparency at the federal centers.

A Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official told The Hill that the agency continues to “discourage external visitors” – including the press – at the facilities housing migrant children.

However, CBP released two videos and 44 images of the facilities in Donna, Texas and El Paso, Texas in an effort to “balance the need for public transparency and accountability,” the official said.

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The video shows unaccompanied children in masks at the tent facility receiving medical checks and food and sleeping on floors in foil blankets. In one shot, small children are seen in a playpen as a worker watches them. Brief footage of the El Paso facility shows children exercising outdoors.

The development comes after the office of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) on Monday unveiled photos taken at the crowded Donna tent facility that showed children sleeping on floors.

The new video footage and photos represent an effort by the Biden administration to address concerns from journalists and advocates about transparency around the facilities amid the surge of unaccompanied migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico.

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The Biden administration thus far has not allowed independent press coverage of the border facilities, citing protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasBipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge Justice Department convenes task force to tackle wave of ransomware attacks Biden to offer 22K additional guest worker visas, 6K targeted toward Northern Triangle MORE traveled with a congressional delegation to the facility in El Paso on Friday, a trip that was closed to the press.

“We are working on independent press coverage. We believe that that should happen and that should be the case,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiHillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Vaccination slowdown could threaten recovery New signs of progress emerge on police reform MORE told reporters at a briefing Monday afternoon, reiterating that the administration is committed to transparency.

The White House says that President BidenJoe BidenCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris to travel to Northern Triangle region in June Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report MORE has been briefed regularly on the situation and seen photos from the facilities. Biden told reporters over the weekend that he would visit the border “at some point.”

--Updated at 10:02 a.m.