According to reports, hundreds of migrant kids are being sent to a “barren” tent city in South Texas. This tent city in Tornillo was supposed to be a temporary shelter for 30 days. But since its opening in June, it’s been expanded to a 3,800-capacity tent city, and kids are being shuttled there from all over the United States “in the middle of the night,” reported the Hill. Some of the kids are being sent there from as far away as New York and Kansas. Before they were sent to the tent city, many of them were living in foster homes or shelters, where they received education and had access to legal reps on a regular basis.
However, at the tent shelter, the kids are not receiving any education. They do, however, get a workbook, but they’re not required to do anything with it, detailed the New York Times.
The reason for the moves is believed to be due to the sharp increase in migrant kids being in federal custody. While there were 2,400 such kids in May 2017, there are approximately 12,800 such kids as of September 2018. That’s a huge difference, and it’s obviously causing a strain on the current infrastructure.
The description of the tent city doesn’t inspire much, as kids are “now housed in groups of 20, sleeping in lines of bunk beds.” There are no flushing toilets, just portable toilets.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) September 30, 2018
It appears that the tents are air-conditioned and that there are tents for recreation and medical care.
The spokeswoman for Health and Human Services, Evelyn Stauffer, says that the move is “common,” explaining the following.
“It is common to use influx shelters as done on military bases in the past, and the intent is to use these temporary facilities only as long as needed.”
Stauffer then went on to blame the “broken immigration system.”
While we sleep and distracted by the #KavanaughVote
Migrant children are being sent to tent city in Tornillo, Texas, in the middle of the night say shelter workers https://t.co/bUD81PBj7K
— Elise Flowers (@elise_flowers) September 30, 2018
For the 1,600 kids that have already arrived, their journey began in the middle of the night when they were woken up. The Daily Beast added that a major concern of advocates is the effect on the move emotionally for the kids. This is because there were “given little to no warning of their relocation so that they won’t try to flee.”
The shelter originally held around 400 boys. It was unclear whether some of these boys were separated from their parents during the government mandate, described CBS News.
Though officials repeatedly said the "tent city" for unaccompanied minors in Tornillo, Texas, was slated to remain open just 30 days, they received permission IN JUNE to keep it open through the end of the year, a doc obtained through #FOIA shows.https://t.co/xUIZcl3fWG
— Graham Kates (@GrahamKates) September 26, 2018
One of the biggest concerns surrounding these shelters is that there’s a loophole with these temporary shelters. That means that they don’t receive the same sort of child welfare inspections that ensure the facility meets certain expectations.