According to Carlos, many of the family-unit holding cells smell like vomit and urine. In the cells that hold unaccompanied minors, fights break out regularly. Sexual assault between the migrants also happens all the time, and Border Patrol agents are afraid of reporting it for fear of being blamed for "letting it happen." Many diseases have also spread around the facility, including the flu and the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
"Any diseases that are in there, it's being kept in there, like a petri dish," said Carlos. "The smell is overwhelming."
At the facility Carlos works at, around 80 migrants are squeezed into cells only 24 feet by 30 feet in size. Many cells have rooms that are divided only using sheets of plastic.
Many Border Patrol agents like Carlos have become increasingly frustrated by the deteriorating conditions in the migrant processing facilities. Agents like himself are being overworked. Only one or two officers per shift are assigned to control groups of between 300 to 500 migrants.
One of Border Patrol's main problems now has to do with the sheer number of unaccompanied minors. The law requires Border Patrol to prioritize children who cross the border without a parent and to transfer them to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of their arrival at the migrant facility.
"We're getting them out of here as quickly as possible, but we are so overwhelmed right now," said Carlos. "It used to be easy to get them out in 72 hours. Not anymore. They're staying here for 10, 12 days. It's horrible."
Since 2020, over 33,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended, according to statistics from Customs and Border Protection. Border Patrol officials even expect to apprehend more than 80,000 minors by the end of 2021, surpassing the 80,634 minors apprehended in 2019.
"Our manpower is being depleted because we need to go babysit these people, move them as fast as possible to release them into the country," said Carlos. "It's ridiculous. We have no backup. We're losing more than we're catching, and it's no secret." (Related: As border crisis worsens, over 118,000 migrants "got away" from Border Patrol in less than six months.)
"Our defenses are down," he added. "So, if there's anybody that we should be worried about, they know this is the time to come in. They know it."
The situation at the border has gotten so overwhelming that even Democrats are speaking out against Biden's policies. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas' 28th District shared a series of photos taken from a CBP "temporary overflow facility" in the small town of Donna in southern Texas.
In the photos, migrant children are being kept in "pods" that have a 260-person occupancy. These pods are separated from each other with thick sheets of plastic, and one pod reportedly had more than 400 unaccompanied male minors when the picture was taken. Cuellar said the children staying in the facility were dealing with "terrible conditions."
Border Patrol is "doing the best they can under the circumstances," said Cuellar. But the agency is "not equipped to care for kids" and "need help from the administration."
The representative added that the U.S. has to do something to discourage kids and their families from coming to the U.S.
"We have to work with Mexico and Central American countries to have them apply for asylum in their countries," said Cuellar.
As of Saturday, Mar. 20, CBP had around 10,000 migrants in custody, with nearly half of that being unaccompanied minors. The current situation in the border is difficult to know because the Biden administration has officially restricted media coverage at migrant housing facilities like the one in Donna.
Learn more about the latest border crisis, and what the administration of Joe Biden is doing in response to it by reading the latest articles at BorderSecurity.news.