Friday, July 19, 2024

Tent City to be built in Texas to house Immigrant children

The Trump administration has selected Tornillo, Texas, for the construction of tents to house immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under the new “zero tolerance” policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services will build a “tent city,” full of large tents, that is estimated to hold 450 beds for children, say the sources. This is not the first time the U.S. government has erected tent cities; U.S. Customs and Border Protection used tents to house an influx of immigrants in 2014 and at the end of the Obama administration.

But now the overflow of a particular immigrant population — in this case, children — is a government created problem. The increase of children who are alone and in need of care is the product of the new Trump administration policy that on May 7 began criminally prosecuting all adult migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security separates any children traveling with those adults before prosecution.

The overflow of children at HHS facilities has caused backup at border stations. As of last week, over 570 unaccompanied children were in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol, and nearly 300 of those had been held for more than 72 hours, the limit for holding an immigrant of any age at a border station.

Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told MSNBC on Thursday that about 1,500 immigrants are being arrested each day for crossing the border illegally. Vitiello said the policy is meant to deter families of immigrants from coming to the U.S.

“If you apply consequence to illegal activity you get less of it,” he said in defense of the policy. “They are only in these shelters long enough to be reunited with their family members. That’s the purpose of them.”