EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – A tent metropolis in Texas for migrant teenagers will shut, the U.S. authorities stated on Friday, and the kids held in what had turn into a controversial image of President Donald Trump’s migration coverage might be transferred to sponsors or different shelters.
The shelter in Tornillo, Texas opened in June to deal with migrant kids, lots of whom had been Central Individuals who crossed the border alone. Immigration advocates raised issues about how lengthy the minors had been staying within the tents and a few protesters had arrange camp close to the ability.
“As of this weekend, the final group of unaccompanied alien kids could have been transferred or discharged” and the shelter was on a “path towards closure,” stated Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Youngsters and Households (ACF).
Johnson stated nearly all of the kids had been launched to sponsors, often relations, in america, whereas some had been transferred to different shelters.
BCFS, the San Antonio-based nonprofit operating the momentary shelter for the U.S. authorities, stated earlier on Friday that “there aren’t any extra kids in Tornillo.”
The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS), which oversees the ACF, had stated there have been greater than 850 migrants being held in Tornillo as not too long ago as Jan. 6.
At its peak in December the sprawling subject of beige-colored tents within the Texan desert close to the border housed 2,800 youngsters, in response to BCFS.
Trump has referred to as the growing variety of kids and households crossing into america a humanitarian disaster. This and his assertion that immigrants and medicines are streaming throughout the southern border have fueled his demand for a border wall, regardless of statistics that present unlawful crossings are at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments are doubtless smuggled by authorized ports of entry.
On Thursday Trump traveled to Texas to press his case for the wall, as the federal government remained partly shut down in a dispute with Democrats over funding for it.
The federal government is legally restricted in how lengthy it might probably detain immigrant minors who cross the border however a coverage to extend vetting of potential sponsors has led to lengthy delays in processing their instances, leaving some kids languishing in authorities look after months.
As of Jan. 6 there have been nonetheless roughly 11,400 unaccompanied kids in HHS custody throughout the nation, the federal government stated.
As soon as minors are launched, they’ll pursue their immigration instances whereas residing in america, with many searching for to use for asylum.
“Our aim is to shut Tornillo as rapidly however as safely as potential,” Victoria Palmer, an HHS spokeswoman, stated earlier this week.
Protesters who’ve been monitoring the camp stated they’ve seen a gradual outflow of infrastructure. BCFS confirmed to Reuters it was working to demobilize the ability and eradicating shelter trailers and tents.
“This tent metropolis ought to by no means have stood within the first place however it’s welcome information that it is going to be gone,” tweeted Will Hurd, a Republican U.S. congressman from Texas.
Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez, extra reporting by Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; Enhancing by Mica Rosenberg, Frances Kerry and Rosalba O’Brien