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US facility reopens in Texas for migrant children

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has reopened a facility to house up to 700 migrant teens after they cross the U.S.-Mexico border unaccompanied by a parent, signaling growing concern about their treatment. they receive the minors in government custody.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported Monday that the first adolescents arrived at the facility located in Carrizo Springs, Texas, which two years ago was converted into a detention center during the Donald Trump administration. . The facility has been closed since July 2019.

Two years ago, Carrizo Springs had a large tent that served as a dining room and assembly area, while the minors were housed in dormitories with bunk beds and tables. The reopening of the facility includes some changes implemented by the coronavirus pandemic.

HHS operates long-term housing facilities for migrant children who are detained by the Border Patrol. Its 7,100 beds are almost fully occupied, prompting the agency to reopen the Carrizo Springs facility. Meanwhile, some 700 minors are in the custody of the Border Patrol, which has reopened a facility in South Texas and is generally detaining immigrants at stations that are not equipped to house children.

The Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen – where the images showing detained migrants emerged, and were shared around the world as the Trump administration separated families at the border – is closed for renovations, during which time Huge metal mesh cages will be removed.

During the Trump administration, Democrats strongly criticized facilities such as Carrizo Springs and others located in Tornillo, Texas, and Homestead, Florida, for their high cost – an estimated $ 775 per child per day – and the risks of stopping migrant children in camps that are not subject to the same requirements as normal facilities.

HHS said opening the Carrizo Springs facility will provide the beds needed to remove minors from Border Patrol stations and eventually place them with sponsors.