A "staggering number" of migrant children detained at a Border Patrol facility in south Texas face overcrowded conditions, with some held for as long as seven days, lawyers who interviewed them on Thursday told CBS News.
"Some of the boys said that conditions were so overcrowded that they had to take turns sleeping on the floor," Neha Desai, a lawyer representing migrant youth in U.S. government custody, told the news outlet.
The Customs and Border Protection holding facility in Donna, Texas, is designed to house 250 migrants for pandemic-era capacity but was holding more than 1,800 people as of March 2.
Most of the minors Desai spoke to at the facility had reportedly only showered once, even though they had been in CBP care for multiple days.
"They all said they wanted to shower more and were told they couldn't," she added. "One of them shared that he could only see the sun when he showered, because you can see the sun through the window.”
Desai said she and one of her colleagues were only able to interview some of the hundreds of migrant children detained at the Donna facility, a large tent complex designed to detain unaccompanied minors and families with children for short periods of time. The lawyers said CBP denied them a tour of the facility.
A senior director and lawyer at the National Center for Youth Law, Leecia Welch, noted that the facility is “becoming a humanitarian crisis” due to the overcrowding.
"Donna is quickly becoming a humanitarian crisis," Welch told CNN. "We understand the administration inherited this disaster, but I cannot stress enough how urgent the situation is with the growing number of young unaccompanied children. We spoke to numerous distraught children who don't understand why they can't talk to their parents, see their siblings at Donna, or get some fresh air."
The Biden administration has agreed that the influx of migrants coming across the border is "overwhelming" but has refused to call it a “crisis.” More than 100,000 migrants were encountered at the border in February, and agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas are encountering 1,500 migrants a day.
Despite the White House not labeling it a “crisis,” local leaders in border states have repeatedly decried it as such, and Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed the National Guard to combat the "smuggling of people and drugs into Texas.”
“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” concluded Abbott. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”