Inside look at Border Patrol facility in Texas housing hundreds - KMOV.com

Inside look at Border Patrol facility in Texas housing hundreds of children

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In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Val In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Val
People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP) People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)
People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, stand in line at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP) People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, stand in line at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)
People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP) People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

McALLEN, Texas (CBS News) -- Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.

One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn't know because the child's aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl's diaper.

The U.S. Border Patrol on Sunday allowed reporters, including CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, to briefly visit the 55,000-square foot facility.

Begnaud said the facility "felt very sterile" and there were "chain-link fences from the floor to the ceiling with netting at the very top." He said that detentions in the facility lasted between 12 to 36 hours.

The facility holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border, sparking new criticism and protests over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy and resulting separation of families.

More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that's divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. The cages in each wing open out into common areas to use portable restrooms. The overhead lighting in the warehouse stays on around the clock.

The Border Patrol said close to 200 people inside the facility were minors unaccompanied by a parent. Another 500 were "family units," parents and children. Many adults who crossed the border without legal permission could be charged with illegal entry and placed in jail, away from their children.

Reporters were not allowed by agents to interview any of the detainees or take photos. Begnaud pointed out that there were people in the facility wrapped in foil blankets.

Begnaud took copious notes during the tour of the facility and said that he didn't see anyone crying or yelling and there were little bits of entertainment available (including a couple TV screens). He noted that there were people with snacks.

Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy, which directs Homeland Security officials to refer all cases of illegal entry into the United States for prosecution. Church groups and human rights advocates have sharply criticized the policy, calling it inhumane.

Stories have spread of children being torn from their parents' arms, and parents not being able to find where their kids have gone. A group of congressional lawmakers visited the same facility Sunday and were set to visit a longer-term shelter holding around 1,500 children -- many of whom were separated from their parents.

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