MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff went inside an over-crowded Texas shelter for detained migrant children and, though cameras were not permitted in the facility, Homeland Security released disturbing photos to a number of journalists.
Soboroff appeared on Morning Joe and discussed the disturbing conditions he discovered inside the licensed child care facility, Casa Padre—a converted Walmart–holding nearly 1,500 boys ages 10 to 17.
“It was shocking, is the best way to describe it,” he said.
One of the most alarming images released is a mural of a smiling Donald Trump. Next to his face is a quote in both English and Spanish that reads: “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” a quote from his book, The Art of the Deal.
Soboroff said, “It’s only getting worse there. That’s because the Trump administration obviously has announced a zero-tolerance policy you were talking about for separating children from their families when they cross the border illegally. Our colleague Julia Ainsley put it this way, this is a self-inflicted crisis. It does not have to be overcrowded in facilities like this, but it is because the attorney general and the president of the United States decided to prosecute, 100 percent in their ideal circumstance, immigrants that cross the border illegally.”
In another appearance on the Today Show, Soboroff said, “I have been inside federal prisons. I have been inside county jails. I’ve been inside detention centers of all kinds and that’s effectively what this is. He tweeted, “These kids are incarcerated. They’re in custody.“
Employees working in the detainment center asked Soboroff and his news team to smile at the hundreds of children who were waiting in line for a meal because “they feel like animals in a cage being looked at.”
“They let us in here, this is run by the Department of Health and Human Services, contracted out to nonprofit,” Soboroff said. “The quality and care the kids get inside here is not bad. It is clean inside, they are not in cages or jails, although an employee said to us they feel like animals in cages.”
He reported that the boys have less than 40 square feet of living space with one hour of structured time and one hour of free time and he warned it would soon get worse
“There’s no other scenario, other than being incarcerated in prison, to describe what it is like,” Soboroff said. “They wanted to let us in to know this is as good as it gets if the tent cities that everybody is talking about and kids start to be moved there. The leader of this center told me on federal property, they don’t have to be licensed child care protectors. It is an emergency situation and all quality of care is called into question.”
Soboroff said the experience left him with some disturbing, unanswered questions. “Where are the 0- to 10-year-olds?” he said. “Where are the girls?”