In the middle of last year, the world watched in horror as U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the separation of children from their parents as families crossed the border into the country seeking asylum as they escaped from horrific circumstances in their own countries.
Even after he claimed he was putting a stop to it, more and more children were being detained in tented camps in the Texas desert, and those camps only grew week by week. But it seems things might finally be changing. Reuters is reporting that the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, is finally being shut down.
All the children and teens who were being housed at the facility have been cleared out, and the organization that was running the camp, BCFS, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, are planning on dismantling it now that it is empty. BCFS has not clarified exactly where the children have gone, whether they have been released to family members or to other government-run facilities.
According to a recent estimate on January 6 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were at least 850 immigrant children still living there. But somehow it seems they have been completely cleared from the site in just the last four days.
The last children have left what was once the largest U.S. detention camp for migrant teenagers along the border with Mexico, says the nonprofit that operated the tent city in Tornillo, Texas. https://t.co/3aj9jALp66— The Associated Press (@AP) January 11, 2019
Some of the children and teens who were staying there had been living in the Texas desert since June of last year when the camp first opened to deal with the large numbers of “unaccompanied teens” who were crossing the border. Many immigration advocates shared concerns over how long they were being detained for trying to find a better life in the U.S.
The tent city was also the object of interest for many activists in the country, with some of them even going so far as to set up their own camp nearby to consistently protest the children’s continued imprisonment.
At its peak, the camp was home to almost 3,000 children.
Trump’s strongest talking point since he started his 2016 presidential campaign is that he’s going to build a wall along the southern border the U.S. shares with Mexico, and detaining children seems to have been the first step he was taking to prove the need for a wall. He has frequently spoken about the thousands of immigrants who cross that border, and even leveled accusations that everyone coming across that border is guilty of violent crimes in their own country.