The immigration debate in The United States is taking another controversial turn as reports reveal that President Donald Trump is considering buying property to “build tent cities” and prison camps to house immigrant children in Texas.
According to McClatchy DC, the administration is looking at land in Texas to hold the “increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children being held in detention.” The Department of Health and Human Services will be the ones to travel down to Fort Bliss, right outside of El Paso, Texas, to acquire land large enough to build the prison camps that will hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children.
After the report was released, Department of Health and Human Services officials confirmed they will be looking at Fort Bliss, as well as other locations, to build “temporary shelters.” HHS officials confirmed that they’re looking at the Fort Bliss site along with Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo for potential use as temporary shelters.
According to reports and officials, the number of children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has increased more than 20% after Attorney General Jeff Sessions Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen implemented a new policy that allows migrant children to be separated from their parents who may be on trial, and up for deportation.
Therefore, many of the shelters are nearly full, according to The Office of Refugee Resettlement. The department revealed that currently there are more than 11,200 migrant children being held in government care without their parents. The current shelters are currently 95% full.
While many officials believe there needs to be a system in place to detain immigrant families who enter the country illegally, many think that separating children from their families is not the way to go. U.S. researcher at Human Rights Watch, Clara Long, stated:
Detaining children for immigration purposes is never in their best interest and the prospect of detaining kids in tent cities is horrifying. US authorities should focus on keeping families together, ensuring due process in asylum adjudications and protecting the rights of children.”
As well, officials who worked with President Barack Obama claim that separating children from their parents is much more expensive than keeping families together. Leon Fresco, deputy assistant attorney general under President Barack Obama, stated that the Trump administration will most likely ask Congress for more money to construct these camps.
“The point is separating families is not only controversial, it’s also inordinately more expensive.”
Many on Twitter are outraged and opposed to the idea of keeping children in prison camps–comparing it to Nazi Germany.
Let's call them what they are: Concentration Camps. In 110 degree El Paso heat. "Cruel and unusual punishment"? pic.twitter.com/Owb9uzxbZi
— Sage_dude (@Sage_dude) June 13, 2018
The news of Trump’s desire to build prison camps comes weeks after the administration admitted they “lost” thousands of immigrant children after they were separated from their parents.