The Biden administration is housing tens of thousands of unaccompanied children in concealed 200 facilities network that the press has learned spans to over two dozen states. This includes five shelters with over 1,000 children cramped inside.
According to confidential data that was obtained by the Associated Press, the number of migrants in government custody has doubled in the last two months and this week the federal government was housing around 21,000 children from toddlers to teenagers.
Overcrowded border prisons make way for overcrowded reception centers for migrant children https://t.co/7eBFf8uL0E
— Ali2DAY (@ali2dayus) May 7, 2021
The military facility at Fort Bliss El Paso, Texas that was converted to house children had over 4,500 kids as of Monday. Mental health experts, Advocates, and Lawyers are saying that although some shelters are “safe” and provide sufficient care, others are compromising children’s health and safety.
Southern Poverty Law Center Attorney, Luz Lopez said, “It’s almost like ‘Groundhog Day,’” referring to the film in 1993 where events appear to be continuously repeating.
Lopez said, “Here we are back to a point almost where we started, where the government is using taxpayer money to build large holding facilities … for children instead of using that money to find ways to more quickly reunite children with their sponsors.”
A few of the existing practices that Biden administration are doing are the same as those they repeatedly ridiculed during the Trump administration. This includes not providing some caregivers for the children with full FBI fingerprint background checks.
On top of this, court records also show that the Biden administration is on the process of settling several multimillion-dollar lawsuits that claim migrant children were abused in the facilities.
In order to help manage the thousands of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration used dozens of UNLICENSED emergency facilities like stadiums, convention centers, and military installations, that bypass state regulations and do not require the traditional legal oversight. One of the facilities called Emergency Intake Sites, children are not guaranteed access to educations, recreational opportunities or to a legal counsel.
According to the recent press release, the Biden administration is boasting its “restoration of a child-centered focus for unaccompanied children.” They were also sharing their daily totals of the number of children in the government custody together with few pictures of the facilities, trying to reflect a “higher level” of transparency compared to the previous administration.
Video footage shared by #US Representative Steve Scalise shows hundreds of migrant children packed together, sleeping in tin foil blankets on the floor in the #Mexico border facility, a condition that he calls "child abuse"#BidenBorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/Qc7F93aI10
— Tehran Times (@TehranTimes79) April 13, 2021
Nevertheless, the agency has received multiple reports of child abuse. This resulted in a handful of contract staffers that were dismissed from working at the emergency facilitis.
However, one particular concern of advocates are the mass shelters with hundreds of beds per location.These facilities can leave children isolated, less supervised, and without basic services. Last month, a large Houston facility abruptly closed after it was revealed the the children are given plastic bags instead of proper access to restrooms.
Neha Desai, National Center for Youth Law attorney said, “As much as having children spend days on end at CBP is unacceptable, so, too, is having children spend weeks on end in unlicensed Emergency Intake Sites.” Desai added, “With every passing day, it is increasingly critical that these children are released to sponsors or transferred to licensed facilities.”