A second temporary facility will be opened for unaccompanied migrant minors crossing the border in Texas, officials announced Tuesday.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will reopen a temporary facility called “Carizzo Springs II ICF” capable of holding 500 unaccompanied migrant minors in hard-sided structures with the ability to expand to soft-sided structures if needed, a spokesperson for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) said Tuesday.
“While ORR has worked to build up its licensed bed capacity to about 13,500 beds, additional capacity is urgently needed to manage both enhanced COVID-19 mitigation strategies and the increasing numbers of UC referrals from DHS,” the ORR spokesperson said in a statement.
Temporary Influx Care Facilities are used to hold minors until they are able to move to ORR shelters, according to an ORR spokesperson. ORR is increasing facilities capacity, reducing the time it takes to locate sponsors, establishing emergency intake sits to prevent overcrowding and using influx care facilities to keep minors from spending time in Customs and Border Protection facilities.
“HHS will utilize all available options to safely care for the children. These options include both short-term and long-term solutions,” an ORR spokesperson said in a statement.
When border agents detain unaccompanied migrant minors, they are transferred to HHS custody until they are matched with a sponsor in the U.S., according to an ORR spokesperson.
The first Carrizo Springs facility was opened and privately operated during the Trump administration in June 2019, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. The facility was criticized for its treatment of children in 2019 and HHS declined to answer how conditions would differ under the new administration.
CBP encountered over 100,000 migrants at the Southern border in February including more than 9,000 unaccompanied minors, according to the agency. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. is on track to encounter more people at the southern border than in the last 20 years, the DCNF reported.
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