Courtesy of the AP:
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 to briefly visit the facility where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border, responding to 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.
“I saw a cage full of five-year-olds.” America, 2018. pic.twitter.com/Zaol80y1a8
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) June 18, 2018
Reports are that nearly two thousand children have been taken from their parents since Jeff Sessions announced the new policy.
And now that there is a zero policy, and all immigrants crossing the border are being charged with a misdemeanor, the courts are so backed up that some of these cases will not be resolved for weeks if not months.
Normally the detainees are only supposed to be held for 12 hours.
The centers do not have the capacity to hold such a large number of people, for such an extended period of time.
Which is why we are now building tent cities to hold the growing number of children ripped from the arms of their parents.
Courtesy of the Star-Telegram:
This week, Dyess Air Force Base on the Abilene outskirts was identified by the federal government as one of three possible sites for tent cities to be erected to house children who have been separated from their parents at the border with Mexico, as the Trump administration begins to enforce its “zero tolerance” policy, according to a McClatchy exclusive report.
On Friday, a U.S. Health and Human Services spokesman confirmed that a fourth site at the Tornillo port of entry near El Paso would actually be the first tent city to open. The official said the tents would be air-conditioned and would initially hold about 360 children.
Specific plans about whether Dyess AFB will be used to house immigrant children are still being kept under wraps. Other possible locations for tent cities include Fort Bliss near El Paso and Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo.
To be fair tent cities have been erected to house immigrant children before, but that was for unaccompanied teenagers who crossed the border and not due to a zero-tolerance policy that separated children as young as a few months old from their families.
This is horrendous.