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Temporary tent city for migrant children to stay open through end of year
A temporary "tent city" for unaccompanied migrant children that was initially supposed to close after a month will reportedly remain open through at least the end of the year.
The facility in Tornillo, Texas, opened in June with a 450-bed capacity and was supposed to be in place for 30 days and scheduled to close in July, the length of the government grant funding its operation.
The tent city's closure was delayed twice - in July and in August.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and BCFS, the nonprofit contractor that manages the facility, confirmed to CBS News for a report Tuesday that the closure will again be delayed.
The facility is expected to remain open through the end of the year and will expand to accommodate up to 3,800 beds, according to CBS News.
Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesperson for HHS, told CBS News that the shelter can currently accommodate 1,200 children.
"The need for the continuation of the operation at Tornillo is based on the number of unaccompanied alien children in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS' Administration for Children and Families, who crossed the border alone without their parent or legal guardian," Wolfe said.
It is unclear how many of the children at the facility were separated from their parents under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy. Wolfe said family separations are "not driving" the expanded need for the tent city.
The government ended the zero tolerance policy in June, though many separated families have not yet been reunited and hundreds of migrant children remain in government custody.
A top official at BCFS has been critical of the government's decision to open the tent city in the first place, telling CBS News earlier this year that it was "a dumb, stupid decision that should've never happened."