Shelters for undocumented children nearing capacity as families separated at border

Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that authorities would open a shelter at the Tornillo port of entry, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of El Paso. The children are only allowed two hours a day for outdoor activities and spend the rest of their days inside a former Walmart.

President Donald Trump's administration has erected a temporary encampment near the US-Mexico border in Texas to house the increasing number of migrant children in government custody, a government official confirmed Friday. The federal government is looking for additional places to put the surge of immigrant children coming across the border seeking asylum.

The Associated Press on Friday cited Homeland Security data saying that almost 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their families over the past six weeks during a crackdown on illegal entries. Children were only allowed to leave the complex for two hours each day, and some of them spent time inside watching the Disney animated film "Moana" and learning about U.S. history, Soboroff reported.

"A phone call or two a day like you're incarcerated, everything is dictated on a schedule".

"This is inhumane. This is cruel".

Journalists have not been allowed access to the tent city.

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It will not be the first time the US government has erected tent cities to house immigrants.

"These are kids that have been in other facilities in other parts of the country that have been moved to this facility in order for room to be made for the kids that are being separated from their parents".

HHS is tasked with caring for "unaccompanied alien children", which by law is any minor that arrives at the border without parents or relatives, or for whom loved ones were not "available to provide care and physical custody". He did not say whether Casa Padre has housed any members of the violent Central American street gang MS-13.

The Brownsville facility is in a building that used to be a Walmart.

But they came over the border unaccompanied, were not separated from parents, tended to be older and were held in permanent structures.

"I am not convinced at this point that housing them in our military installations is the best short-term answer, especially if it harms regular base operations, crowds our servicemembers and distracts from the mission of defense", he said. "But this is the policy of the Trump administration", said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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