The Trump administration is planning to open a new emergency detention center for some 1,600 immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. southern border without parental accompaniment.
The planned facility, located in Carrizo Springs, Texas, was once a building that housed oil field workers, Slate reported.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made the announcement on Wednesday, pointing out that two out of every 25 immigrants detained for crossing the border last month were children.
Concerns abound as the detention center may not be bound by government requirements that other children’s facilities may be subjected to. The facility will be considered a temporary emergency shelter, which will allow the government to ignore welfare licensing requirements, a spokesman for HHS said.
The agency is also considering using Army and Air Force bases in states like Georgia, Montana, and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,4000 kids in the coming weeks, that spokesman added, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
The announced facility in Texas comes about as the Trump administration faces backlash for a number of child migrants who have died under their watch over. Six children have perished over the past eight months, although that number could, in fact, be higher.
Pacific Standard Magazine reported that it sent an email to HHS back in May asking if more children had died under their watch that weren’t previously reported. “[The] inquiry is with the program office for response — we’ll get the information back to you just as soon as we have it,” the agency said in an email to the publication. It has not responded to more inquiries since that time.
A former Obama-era director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Robert Carey, said that such records shouldn’t be that difficult to come by. “I think they’d be able to very quickly ascertain how many deaths there had been,” Carey told Pacific Standard.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.