Donna, Texas — For the first time on Tuesday, the Biden administration allowed journalists within its main border detention facility for immigrant children, with more than 4,000 people, including children and families, 250 and the youngest matting on the floor. I was sleeping in a big play pen on which I was placed.
More than 4,100 people were accommodated in the property on Tuesday. Most were unaccompanied children who were taken to a facility run by the Department of Health and Human Services and treated in tents before being placed with family, relatives, or sponsors.
Hundreds of children were housed in eight “pods,” each made of plastic dividers measuring approximately 3,200 square feet (297 square meters). Many of the pods had more than 500 children.
Oscar Escamilla, acting executive officer of the Rio Grande Valley’s US Border Guard, said 250-300 children enter the country each day and have far less vacation.
The youngest children — among them a newborn with a 3-year-old girl and a 17-year-old mother, who are cared for by an 11-year-old brother — are kept away from the pods and sleeping in the playpen.
On Tuesday, journalists saw the children being processed. They entered a small room for lice testing and health checkups. Their hair was hose-fastened and the towels were thrown into a black bottle labeled “lice.” Children, many of whom had long journeys to reach the border, including stretching on foot, were also checked for scabies, fever, and other illnesses. The COVID-19 test was not performed unless the child showed symptoms.
The nurse practitioner also conducted a psychological test asking children if they had suicidal ideation. All laces have been removed to avoid harm to anyone.
The children were then guided down the green grass hall to a large intake room. People over the age of 14 will be fingerprinted and photographed. Younger children didn’t.
They went to a second intake room where they were notified to appear at the Immigration Court. Border guard agents asked if there was contact in the United States and allowed the child to call him.
The children were given a bracelet with a barcode showing their history and medical condition when they took a shower.
Outside the facility, I heard the roar of construction machinery along with the air conditioning equipment.
The Biden administration continues to expel adults trying to cross the border under the coronavirus-related public health declaration enacted by former President Donald Trump.Biden also tried to expel most families traveling with him, but changes in Mexican law forced agents to release many parents and children to the United States.
Biden refused to resume the Trump-era practice of expelling unaccompanied immigrant children. Hundreds of children and teens cross borders each day, most of them fleeing the effects of Central American violence, poverty, or natural disasters. In some cases, parents refused to enter the United States and sent their children alone across the border, hoping that they would eventually be placed with their relatives.
Border guards arrest far more children each day than Health and Human Services has placed in US sponsorship, bringing a serious backlog to the system. Border guards are usually not expected to detain children for more than three days, but health and welfare services do not have space.
More than 2,000 children have stayed at the Donna facility for more than 72 hours, 39 of whom have stayed for more than 15 days.
HHS accommodates children in the Dallas and San Diego convention centers and has large sites in San Antonio, El Paso and more.
Biden has been sharply criticized by Republicans trying to defend Trump’s immigration record, including the separation of thousands of immigrant families under a “zero tolerance” policy.
Over 4,000 immigrants and many children rushed to Texas facilities
Source link Over 4,000 immigrants and many children rushed to Texas facilities