Trump admin to pay Texas nonprofit more than $450M to house migrant children: report

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The Trump administration is planning to pay a single nonprofit $458 million to house immigrant children detained after crossing the border.

The Texas nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs, operates a series of facilities housing detained migrant children, including a former WalMart in Texas that has become the focus of national attention amid the outcry over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

Government data reviewed by Bloomberg shows that Southwest Key is receiving more than any other organization tasked with running detention and care centers for migrant children.

Southwest Key has been paid by the government in past years, but not nearly as much as the 2018 plans reveal. In 2017, the group was paid $286 million, and in 2016, $211 million.

The company’s CEO was paid $1.5 million in 2016, according to tax records reviewed by Bloomberg, a massive increase from the $786,000 he was paid in 2015. Southwest Key has also recently leased a warehouse in Houston to build another youth detention center expected to house more than 200 children.

{mosads}The $458 million figure is nearly half of the $943 million the government expects to spend this fiscal year for such housing. While this estimate is less than the $958 spent last fiscal year, Bloomberg noted that it may increase due to the zero tolerance policy and separation of families.

Under Trump’s policy to prosecute more immigrants crossing the border illegally, an estimated 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and are in custody under U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

A Department of Health and Human Services official said that the agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is currently housing a total of nearly 12,000 youth, the vast majority of which entered the country on their own, according to Bloomberg.

The WalMart operated by Southwest Key is now called Casa Padre, and houses about 1,500 migrant boys. Democratic lawmakers toured the facility earlier this week, describing the conditions the children are being held in as “cages.”

Dozens from both parties have blasted the policy as “cruel” and “inhumane,” and called for the administration to reverse it.

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