Trump Administration to Open Mass Detention Facility for Migrant Children in Texas

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; carcerality.]

Days after the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) decided to stop funding education, recreation, and legal services for migrant children in their custody, the ORR has confirmed plans to open a new mass detention facility to hold migrant children in Texas and is "considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding up to 3,000 new beds."

Garance Burke at the AP reports:
The new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, will hold as many as 1,600 teens in a complex that once housed oil field workers on government-leased land near the border, said Mark Weber, a spokesman for Office of Refugee Resettlement.

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. Most of the children crossed the border without their parents, escaping violence and corruption in Central America, and are held in government custody while authorities determine if they can be released to relatives or family friends.

All the new facilities will be considered temporary emergency shelters, so they won't be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements, Weber said.

..."It is our legal requirement to take care of these children so that they are not in Border Patrol facilities," Weber said. "They will have the services that ORR always provides, which is food, shelter, and water."
So, to be very clear: The ORR will be detaining children on a mass scale; will not be subject to child welfare licensing guidelines; will provide the detained children with no education, recreational services, or legal aid; and will give them nothing but food, shelter, and water.

Healthcare is not even mentioned. The ORR is required by federal law to provide healthcare to people in their custody, but the Flores settlement stipulates that the government is required to provide education and recreational activities to migrant children in its custody, among other things, and release them from custody within 20 days, and the Trump administration has decided to ignore that law.

Further, there is an emergent pattern of simply releasing compromised people from custody before they die, to skirt reporting mandates.

So we cannot trust that even emergency healthcare will be provided to the children who are being kept in mass detention facilities.

Understand: The Trump administration is breaking the law by declaring these "temporary emergency shelters" and saying they are not subject to either child welfare licensing guidelines or the provisions of the Flores settlement.

They are ignoring established federal law in order to detain children in prison camps en masse.

U.S. residents: Find your representative here. Find your senators here.


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