Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration reopens Trump-era facility for migrant children

Tents at the Influx Care Facility for unaccompanied children on Feb. 21 in Carrizo Springs, Texas.

Tents at the Influx Care Facility for unaccompanied children on Feb. 21 in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Biden administration reopened a temporary facility for unaccompanied migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, on Monday, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Officials say the camp is necessary because of an uptick in migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the federal government's capacity to house children before they can be reunited with sponsors.

Dozens of migrant teens have already been taken to the facility, which was open for one month in summer 2019 and is being reactivated to hold as many as 700 children ages 13 to 17.

  • The 66-acre site is operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees services for migrant children. HHS had about 7,000 children in its custody as of Sunday, spokesperson Mark Weber told the Post.

What they're saying: "This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay —
no matter the administration or party," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet Tuesday about the reopening of the facility.

  • "Our immigration system is built on a carceral framework. It’s no accident that challenging how we approach both these issues are considered 'controversial' stances," she added.

The big picture: The Biden administration is also planning to reopen a for-profit facility for migrant children in Homestead, Florida, the Miami Herald reports.

  • House Democrats introduced a Biden-backed immigration bill that includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
  • The bill is unlikely to win needed Republican support, but represents President Biden's aggressive immigration priorities, Axios' Stef Kight and Shawna Chen report.
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