The Biden administration abandons plans to accommodate “friendly age” immigrant children at the Texas Army base

The Biden administration has abandoned plans to accommodate “gentle-aged” migrant children at a military base in the Texas desert in concern. Inferior conditions And Long Stay So Health and Welfare Secretary Xavier Becerra confirmed with CBS News on Monday.

As of May 13, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was 12 years old at Fort Bliss Army Base, one of the 13 sites set up by the Biden administration to accommodate unaccompanied minors. We planned to accommodate up to 5,000 immigrant children under.According to the inside Government documents Obtained by CBS News.

However, on a phone call with reporters on Monday, Mr. Besera said his department, which is responsible for taking care of unaccompanied children until they are released to a U.S. family, reverses the course. He said he had decided.

“We do not intend to accommodate children of soft age (children under the age of 12) in our Fort Bliss facility,” Besera said. “The Fort Bliss facility has only children between the ages of 12 and 17.”

Border town in the midst of political controversy
The US Army Fort Bliss Base is located in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

Adria Malcolm / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Proponents and some lawmakers, including Democrat Veronica Escobar, have expressed concern about placing toddlers in Fort Bliss, which housed 4,500 teenage boys and girls as of Friday.

Neha Desai, a lawyer at the National Youth Law Center representing immigrant children in a federal court proceeding, told CBS News that “the government will send infants to an environment that does not meet basic child welfare standards. It’s shocking to think about it. ” “Knowing that they are no longer thinking about putting these very young children in a warehouse at a military base that will be trapped in a huge tent with thousands of other children. Certainly safe. “

The vast temporary housing in Fort Bliss can now accommodate up to 10,000 children in a large tent, but supporters have recently diminished criticism. Unlike traditional HHS shelters, bases and other emergency housing facilities in convention centers and workcamps are not licensed by state authorities to care for minors.

Desai and other lawyers interviewing minors in army bases help children reunite with showers, clean clothes, case managers, US sponsors, usually parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. A cousin who said he had reported inadequate access to officials.

Bethera, who toured Fort Bliss over the weekend, said the children living there were properly serviced.

“We provide them with the clothing and sanitary materials they need,” he added. “I didn’t see any shortages. In fact, as I said, I saw a warehouse with the goods they would need.”

Escobar, El Paso, and lawyers have also expressed concern about the mental health of Fort Bliss children, especially those who have been detained for the longest time there. During an interview with a lawyer, immigrant girls at the base reported stories of self-harm among other children.

Asked about these concerns, Bethera said Fort Bliss children have access to health checks, good food, and behavioral health professionals.

“None of the children in these facilities will tell any of us that what they are experiencing now is as close to trauma as they are trying to go here. “He added.

Still, Besera recognizes the mental health problems of children, and HHS says, “While the children are temporarily caring for us, we do everything we can to deal with it as much as possible. I will. “

“If I were a kid, my parents and family were abroad, I couldn’t speak a language, and I didn’t know what would happen, I would be stressed too,” he said.

As of earlier this month, nearly 600 children had been detained in Fort Bliss for more than 40 days, according to data shared with CBS News. Escobar said that when she toured the base, as of Friday, there were some minors in custody for 48 days.

Besera said his department strives to release children as soon as possible, but prevents minors from being placed with sponsors who could harm children, such as traffickers. He said that the review procedure designed for could delay the process.

“We’re not going to make it happen,” Besera said. “We will do everything we can to safely discharge our children into the hands of responsible custodians. Some people take longer than others.”

Last week, HHS said it had placed nearly 31,000 of the 49,000 immigrant children it received since President Biden took office as a US family member and sponsor.

Bethera said emergency temporary housing is temporary and should not accommodate children “for a long time.” However, he said it was necessary to expel unaccompanied children from the rapidly crowded and inappropriate border guard facilities early this spring.

HHS has 13,000 to 14,000 traditional shelter beds on paper for unaccompanied children, but Besera is currently in use due to COVID-19 protocol and staffing issues. Said only about 9,000.

He added that the rest of the 19,000 unaccompanied minors currently caring for HHS are being held in makeshift shelters.

“We ran out of beds available in most of these licensed facilities, and that’s what we had to open up these emergency intake areas,” Bethera said.

The Biden administration abandons plans to accommodate “friendly age” immigrant children at the Texas Army base

Source link The Biden administration abandons plans to accommodate “friendly age” immigrant children at the Texas Army base

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