The Slatest

Trump Administration Says It Will Open New Mass Facility on Border to Hold Unaccompanied Children

Migrant children trying to reach the U.S. play at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, near the border with the US, on November 30, 2018.
Migrant children trying to reach the U.S. play at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Mexico on Nov. 30. Guillermo Arias/Getty Images

The Trump administration says it will open a new emergency detention facility to house as many as 1,600 minors that come across the border unaccompanied. The new facility will be fashioned out of an old housing complex along the border for oil field workers in Carrizo Springs, Texas, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The move comes after the Trump administration announced Wednesday more than 11,000 of the nearly 133,000 migrants arrested crossing the border last month were unaccompanied children.

“All the new facilities will be considered temporary emergency shelters, so they won’t be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Associated Press. “The agency is also weighing using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,400 kids in the coming weeks, amid the influx of children traveling to the U.S. alone.”

Overall, as of May, HHS said nearly 41,000 children have been referred to the resettlement agency and that 13,200 children are currently in HHS custody. “After being apprehended by the Border Patrol, unaccompanied minors are generally transferred to HHS custody within 72 hours,” CNN reports. “HHS then is tasked with finding a sponsor in the United States for the children, meaning, for example, an immediate family member or relative. The average length of stay is 48 days.”

“The Carrizo Springs facility announced Thursday will consist of hard-sided structures to shelter children and semi-permanent soft-sided structures “for support operations,” according to CNN. “It likely won’t begin to accept children for another month.”