The U.S. Border Patrol is holding immigrant children in cage-like contraptions at a detention center in McAllen, Texas. But the federal government is urging reporters not to use the word “cages” when describing the facility.
Detained as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigrants who cross the southern U.S. border illegally, thousands of children have been separated from their parents.
Some of those children are being held at a detention center known as “Ursula” in McAllen behind metal fencing — similar to what you’d see at a dog kennel.
The federal government allowed reporters to tour its largest immigrant processing center on Sunday, where many of the separations have occurred.
Some news organizations, including The Associated Press and CBS News, described the migrant holding areas as “cages,” which irked the Border Patrol. The BBC even said some immigrants are calling the facility “La Perrera” – dog kennel in Spanish.
During Monday’s broadcast of CBS This Morning, Gayle King, who co-hosted from McAllen said the Border Patrol contacted CBS News and asked that its reporters stop using the word “cages” when describing the facility.
Although King told viewers the Border Patrol admitted the word was not exactly inaccurate.
“They said they may be cages but they [immigrants] are not being treated like animals,” King explained. “I know a lot of people looking at that don’t entirely see the distinction.”
This just in from @davidbegnaud: Border Patrol has reached out to @cbsthismorning and said they are "very uncomfortable" with the use of the word cages. They say it's not inaccurate and added that they may be cages but people are not being treated like animals. pic.twitter.com/0zSDqJszgK
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 18, 2018
King later interviewed Manuel Padilla, chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector of Customs and Border Protection, who described the situation as “complex.”
“When you have high levels of activity, and a lack of resources – personnel, technology, infrastructure – it creates this kind of chaotic environment,” Padilla said.
But as public outrage grows, King told him many people view what the government is doing as “cruel and inhuman behavior.” She went on to ask Padilla if he agreed with President Trump’s immigration crackdown.
“I do agree that we have to do something. We created this situation by not doing anything,” Padilla said. “So what happened with zero tolerance is, we were exempting a population from the law. And what happens when you do that, it creates a draw for a certain group of people that rises to trends that become a crisis.”