Newly opened migrant children shelter could close this week: reports

Newly opened migrant children shelter could close this week: reports
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The Trump administration’s newest facility for holding unaccompanied migrant children could close as early as this week, according to multiple reports.

The facility at Carrizo Springs, Texas, was first opened less than a month ago, but the CEO of the nonprofit company that operates the camp told The Associated Press and Vice News that the last children at the camp are on track to leave by Thursday.

The Carrizo Springs camp officially opened June 30 in order to provide more beds to children who were being held in squalid Border Patrol facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border. It is run by the nonprofit firm BCFS, which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will pay $50 million for its first 60 days of operation.

Kevin Dinnin, the CEO of BCFS, told Vice that his staff was told to leave the facility by the end of the week. He said the facility will also have discharged its remaining children by the end of the week.

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BCFS has a contract with HHS to run the facility through January 2020 at a cost of up to $300 million.

Border crossings fluctuate seasonally, and the massive numbers of children crossing the southern border earlier this year have significantly decreased during the summer months.

Dinnin told the AP it didn’t make sense for staff and resources to be tied to a site where they were not needed.

As of Monday, HHS’s refugee office said there were only 122 children at the facility, which was expected to hold up to 1,300. Since the facility opened, HHS said 354 children have been placed there and 217 children have been united with sponsors.

The shelter, which was formerly used as a lodging facility for oil field workers, is one of two temporary “influx” shelters, the other being the Homestead facility in Florida.

HHS wouldn’t comment on the reports but in a statement hinted that the shelter could stay open even though it won’t have any children in it because of the unpredictable nature of immigration numbers.

“Continuing to operate in emergency influx mode will successfully accommodate fluctuations in immigration patterns at this time,” the agency said. “Keeping the temporary shelters open is a prudent step to ensure that ORR is able to meet its responsibility, by law, to provide shelter for [unaccompanied minors] referred to its care by [the Department of Homeland Security].”