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  • Migrants are seen outside the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment in McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 15, 2019.

    Migrants are seen outside the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in a makeshift encampment in McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 15, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 May 2019

Latest photos taken from a helicopter, show people sleeping in a shaded area of a parking lot and crowded around a military tent in a makeshift encampment, covered with Mylar blankets.

Exclusive aerial photos taken by Reuters on Wednesday show adults and children outside the United States (U.S.) Border Patrol station for migrants in McAllen, Texas, sleeping on the ground and rigging up makeshift shelters with reflective blankets to protect from the blistering sun.

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A Honduran woman who crossed the border with her 14-year-old son, as well as a niece and nephew, spent three nights at the McAllen Border Patrol and told BuzzFeed News that they “were mistreated,” adding that she “thought the U.S. treated people better, but they treated us so bad.”

The situation at McAllen was first reported by CNN on May 14, yet these latest photos taken from a helicopter, show people sleeping in a shaded area of a parking lot and crowded around a military tent in a makeshift encampment, covered with Mylar blankets. The ground temperature was about 89 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) when the pictures were taken around midday. 

“From what we’ve seen at McAllen, people are sleeping on rocks and stones, and without shelter,” said Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which provides legal services to migrants.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Richard Pauza referred to a May 8 testimony by U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost when asked for comment, in which she told the Senate hearing that there is “unprecedented border security and humanitarian crisis” as Central American migrants are “off the charts.”

On May 1, Donald Trump’s administration asked Congress for US$4.5 billion in immediate emergency funding. As an immediate response, on Wednesday, the U.S. government announced it's going to send more agents from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to the U.S.-Mexico border to augment staff at the southwest frontier this summer. 

Photos taken on Wednesday show adults and children outside the U.S. Border Patrol station for migrants in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Reuters
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