Story at a glance
- The holding facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, was reopened Monday to house up to 700 migrants ages 13 to 17.
- Officials say the camp was reopened as facilities currently housing migrant children have had to significantly cut capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- “So it’s a temporary reopening during COVID-19, our intention is very much to close it, but we want to make sure we can follow COVID protocols,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday criticized the Biden administration for reopening a detention facility in Texas to house hundreds of immigrant teenagers after they cross the U.S.-Mexico border unaccompanied by a parent.
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” The New York Democrat tweeted in response to the move by the administration.
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“It’s only 2 [months] into this admin & our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time. That’s why bold reimagination is so [important],” she said, adding in a separate tweet that “DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.”
Progressive Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) also weighed in, saying multiple administrations have “made the callous choice to lock up thousands of children seeking refuge” in the U.S.
“As long as we see people seeking a better life as ‘aliens’ instead of fellow human beings, our immigration system will continue to fail us,” Omar tweeted Tuesday.
The holding facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, was open for about a month in 2019 during the Trump administration but is being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 to 17, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Officials say the camp was reopened as facilities currently housing migrant children have had to significantly cut capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To ensure the health and safety of these kids, [the Department of Health and Human Services] took steps to open an emergency facility to add capacity where these kids can be provided the care they need before they are safely placed with families and sponsors,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news briefing Tuesday.
“So it’s a temporary reopening during COVID-19, our intention is very much to close it, but we want to make sure we can follow COVID protocols.”
Democrats slammed the Trump administration in 2018 when it began enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy that led thousands of children to be separated from their parents and held in warehouse facilities.
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