“If You Build It, They Will Come” HHS To Construct 512-Bed Migrant Center

Woman-and-toddler migrants detained at the Ursula detention center in McAllen, Texas, the United States. Date: 13 July 2019

Nov 13, 2019

The Texan – A new housing center for unaccompanied migrant children operated by the Department of Health and Human Services will be built in El Paso.

A new facility to house and care for unaccompanied children (UAC) who have crossed the U.S. border is scheduled to be built in the Montana Vista area of El Paso.

Caliburn International, a government contractor who provides services in the national defense, healthcare, and homeland security sectors, says the new facility will include classrooms, dining areas, counseling, and medical facilities.

Operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the 25-acre child migrant housing center will also include permanent structures with 512 beds and cottages that revolve around a recreational area complete with soccer fields and playgrounds for the children housed there.

The new facility will be one of nearly 170 ORR shelters in 23 states across the nation aimed at caring for the approximately 5,000 unaccompanied children in HHS custody.

Under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, adults found crossing the border illegally are subject to apprehension while the children traveling with them are placed in the care of HHS, leading to an increase in the number of children separated from their families at the border.

The practice of separating families, however, has deeper roots dating back to previous administrations.

The Obama administration, in particular, instituted an expansion of the Flores Settlement Agreement in 2015, which essentially required families to be separated once detained.

While the Flores Settlement Agreement in its original form limited the amount of time UACs could be held in detention to 20 days, the 2015 expansion of the Flores rule made it applicable to accompanied children as well, leading to a dramatic spike in family separation practices at the border … Read more. 

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