Biden official asked GOP senators visiting border to delete photos from facilities

Braun and 18 of his Republican colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas inspected the holding center this week

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., told Fox News that a Biden official asked Republican senators to delete photos they took at a border facility they were touring on Friday. 

Braun originally made the remarks to the Washington Examiner. 

"There was one of Biden's representatives. I felt sorry for the lady because she actually talked to me about deleting a picture, but by the time she got to me, all those other pictures were taken, and that shows you the hypocrisy," Braun told the Examiner of a migrant processing and holding center in Donna, Texas. 

Images of migrant children taken Friday, March 26, 2021 at the Donna U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Texas. Sen. Mike Braun took the pictures while touring the facility with other GOP senators.

Images of migrant children taken Friday, March 26, 2021 at the Donna U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Texas. Sen. Mike Braun took the pictures while touring the facility with other GOP senators. (Sen. Mike Braun)

"None of us would have gone down there if we were going to be muzzled," said Braun, who added that Border Patrol also asked that no photos were to be taken, but that "they were telling us that because they had to."

Braun and 18 of his Republican colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas inspected the holding center this week, which is at 700 percent capacity amid a surge in migrants.

SEN. BRAUN PENS LETTER URGING BIDEN TO VISIT BORDER 

The photos showed children sleeping on the ground in an enclosed area. 

Braun told the Examiner as the group stopped with border agents at the edge of the Rio Grande, where migrants often try to illegally cross. There he said a group of "coyotes," who guide migrants across the border for money, jeered at the group in Spanish.

 "All of a sudden to hear from the other side of the river taunting from the smugglers and coyotes, most of it in Spanish, telling the border guards that whatever you do, we're coming," said Braun. "That kind of hit home in such an anecdotal way because it is one story that kind of is a metaphor for what's happening all up and down the border."

GOP SENATORS ENCOUNTER TRAFFICKERS, CARTEL MEMBERS AT BORDER DURING NIGHTTIME RIO GRANDE TOUR

Images of migrant children taken Friday, March 26, 2021, at the Donna U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Texas. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., took the pictures while touring the facility with other GOP senators.

Images of migrant children taken Friday, March 26, 2021, at the Donna U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Texas. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., took the pictures while touring the facility with other GOP senators. (Sen. Mike Braun)

Braun, after visiting the facility, penned a letter to the president imploring him to visit the border.

The letter, obtained first by Fox News, which includes pictures Braun took Friday during his visit of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Texas.

The images show migrants jammed into pods at the processing facility and children sleeping on mats on the floor.

"The crisis surrounding this surge makes it a moral imperative for you to see firsthand what is happening—and not the sanitized version of the border tour taken by some of my congressional colleagues," Braun wrote. "Having personally gone this week, I can testify to this being an inhumane, unsustainable and dangerous situation.

There were more than 18,000 unaccompanied minors in either Border Protection or Health and Human Services custody as of Thursday, according to homeland security records.

By law, children are not supposed to stay in the processing facilities for more than 72 hours before being transferred to HHS shelters specifically designed to care for children. But the surge of migrants at the border has overwhelmed the processing centers and caused delays.

"I know why President Biden doesn't want the media to be here - because we do have an open border," Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma said Friday after visiting the facility. 

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"If you were an unaccompanied minor, you were sent over to the Donna facility, which we went over and visited. That facility is designed for 80 people in a pod, and they had 709 people... literally wall to wall in every one of the little plexiglass cells that they have, and people flooding out into the hallway," Lankford said.