Per NBC News, citing two U.S. officials and a document, U.S. Border Patrol is running out of room and resources for children being held at border stations.
Effective Sunday, almost 300 out of 550 children in custody had been there for more than 72 hours, which is supposed to be the time limit for holding immigrants of any age at so-called “border stations.” These stations are intended to be temporary — a sort of triage from the time they are detained at the border until they are in the system. Since these facilities are meant to be only a first stop, they aren’t very large and often lack bedding. Many do not have separate sleeping rooms for children.
As part of the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy — in which parents traveling with children are separated from their kids while they face legal proceedings — border agents and child welfare workers are literally running out of space to shelter children who have been separated from their parents or other guardians.
“It would be highly inappropriate and even unsafe to hold children for extended periods in these short-term border facilities because they often lack the adequate medical and nutritional resources for these young people,” said Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It would place these children at risk of harm if they are housed with adults without the proper privacy that children should have.”
A spokesperson for HHS says officials will begin touring “military installations” near the border in Texas, in search of more space to house children while they wait for placement. Among the facilities, they will tour: Dyess Air Force Base, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and Fort Bliss.
That’s right. Military installations. For children separated from their families. This is who we are now.