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'This is a humanitarian crisis': Republican senators, including Cruz and Cornyn tour detention facilities in Rio Grande Valley

Republican senators toured the Rio Grande Valley. They say it's overwhelming. Democrats say it's a problem dating back decades and demand immigration reform.

A delegation of Republican U.S. senators was in the Rio Grande Valley to tour detention facilities and to ride along with border patrol agents. 

Some of the senators, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, released pictures showing crowded facilities where children are being held. 

"We saw cage, after cage with little girls and little boys lying side by side,” said Cruz.

Democrats and Latino leaders said it's the same detention facilities former President Donald Trump's administration used. None of the senators toured the facilities other than when children were being separated from their parents.

"Well, you know, I didn't hear that concern, you know, when Trump was in office. They would go and do photo ops with Trump at the wall that was never built and it was never paid for by Mexico, and now they are saying they concerned about the kids when they did nothing but put them in squalid camps,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC national president. 

RELATED: LULAC calls for temporary legal status for migrant teens, media access to Dallas convention center

One thing both sides can agree on is that this has been an ongoing problem for decades and the border towns are overwhelmed. 

"The Border Patrol and Health and Human Services are struggling to deal with this. They can't get ahead of this without policy changes in D.C,” said Senator John Cornyn.   

"It's a totally broken immigration system. That's why we're having this crisis. That's why people are doing lots of things they shouldn't be doing and risking their lives and their health and trying to do this because we haven't given them a legal way for people to come in,” said Garcia. 

Some of the kids have made it from the border to facilities like the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

As of Thursday, 2,250 migrant children were at the convention center. A federal press release said that the building is currently equipped to house just 2,300. 

Congressman Van Taylor got a tour. He gave an interview for Sunday's Inside Texas Politics.

"It's really heartbreaking what they went through, obviously as an American it broke my heart for these children,” said Taylor. 

And there is mounting pressure on the Biden administration to do more to address the issue. They said it's a problem that didn't happen overnight and they are working on a comprehensive immigration bill and new policies they hope will help. 

Meanwhile, the Dallas Independent School District is doing what it can to lend a hand. 

Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova told WFAA Friday that a little over a dozen volunteers from the district's central office are volunteering their time to build an education schedule for the children, mostly male teens, as they await their immigration cases to proceed or be reunited with family. 

Dallas ISD, in the past, has stood behind undocumented children and even passed a resolution as recent as 2017 welcoming them. 

With many doing a lot of waiting, Cordova said the district acquired supplies and used educational packets that were created in the pandemic to start lesson plans. 

The biggest thing the district can do is provide basic ESL classes to the boys per Cordova. 

"We immediately reached out to see how we could help," Cordova said. "We knew that we could lean in and support." 

Cordova mentioned that the district has provided educational services during major hurricanes such as Katrina and Harvey.  

"Basic ESL lessons are going to be really helpful to these young men who are mostly not English speaking," said Cordova. 

News 8 has only spoken to a few people who have been inside the convention center. Cordova likened to a large slumber party, except there are 2,000 people attending. 

RELATED: Gov. Abbott criticizes conditions at temporary housing facilities for migrants; WFAA gets glimpse inside the convention center

She said it's a challenge to educate that many children, but that volunteers are finding that many are willing to learn. 

"The idea of educating these young people, who are excited about learning, warms the heart of the teacher inside me," said Cordova.  

Per Cordova, conditions inside KBH aren't as dire as some on the border. 

"It looked clean, warm, safe. Everybody appeared to be in clean clothes, three meals a day. We've got some good supplies for them. I think they've done a very good job setting up this shelter in a very short period of time," said Cordova. 

Cordova stressed that retired teachers and central personnel are volunteering their time.  

Paid teachers are only working with enrolled DISD students.