The Trump administration is planning to open a new facility in Texas designed to temporarily house a growing number of migrant children detained alongside their families after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
A spokesman for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) told The Associated Press on Friday that the facility is designed to house as many as 1,600 children, mostly teenagers, who were detained by Border Patrol officers.
“It is our legal requirement to take care of these children so that they are not in Border Patrol facilities,” Weber told the news service. “They will have the services that ORR always provides, which is food, shelter and water.”
A second plan being considered by the Trump administration would house a further 1,400 children at three military bases in Montana, Georgia, and Oklahoma, the AP reported. None of the new facilities are expected to fall under state laws governing child welfare, as the Trump administration plans to declare them as emergency shelters.
The news comes on the heels of figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which showed a record number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in May and applying for asylum. Many of the migrants who crossed the border in May were unattended children who now fall into ORR's care.
Detentions spiked to 132,887 in May up from 99,304 the month before, a 33.8 percent increase, CBP's data showed.
Immigrant advocates told the AP that the Trump administration's poor track record related to housing migrants in recent months would lead to "distastrous" results if the program is expanded.
“If they are going to open the program up in these numbers and they can’t even manage the influx facility that they have in a humane way, then compounding that is going to be disastrous,” Holly Cooper with the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California told the AP.
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