Politics 'Outrageous': White House vows to investigate reports of migrant teenagers being housed on buses
US awards huge shelter contracts amid child migrant increase
Confronted with a stream of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico, the U.S. government has awarded shelter-construction and management contracts to private companies that critics say may not be equipped to adequately care for the minors. Some of the companies have responded to natural disasters and more recently developed quarantine centers at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Others have worked with U.S. border officials over the past few years to set up tented holding areas for migrants. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this March 23, 2021, file photo, migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.
The White House has distanced itself from reports that migrant teenagers were held in buses outside a federal government facility in Dallas while they waited to be reunited with their families in the United States.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki condemned the anecdotes as "unacceptable" and "outrageous."
"They do not meet our standard for childcare, that is true for the president, it is true for the Secretary of Homeland, Health and Human Services, it is true for everyone involved across government," Psaki told reporters Friday.
Over 60 migrant children held at California facilities treated for COVID-19
Over 60 migrant children at two California holding centers have tested positive for COVID-19. At the Long Beach Convention Center housing 728 migrant children, 55 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, Zhan Caplan, spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told ABC News. The center has a capacity to hold 1,000 children.
The matter is being investigated to determine "how we got to this point, how this possibly happened," according to Psaki.
"There's no excuse for this kind of treatment," she said. "In terms of what the consequences will be, I just can't predict that before an investigation has concluded."
The Dallas Morning News reported this week thatparked outside the city's convention center. The makeshift facility was set up early in President Joe Biden's administration to deal with the uptick in migrant children crossing the southern border, holding up to 2,300 minors at the height of the influx. About 600 migrants are being housed in the center as of this week, with speculation the facility will be abandoned by the end of the month, the newspaper reported.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of Biden's harshest critics on the migrant surge, is urging White House to listen to border towns
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has become an outspoken, critical voice on immigration as Biden grapples with migrants coming to the border.The 65-year-old congressman, donning a tan button-down shirt and matching pants, lamented about the issues he’s seen in his community as an increased number of migrant children, families and adults make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. American teenagers are being recruited by cartels to help smuggle people into the United States, ranch property is being destroyed, and now migrants are replacing drugs as the newest and most valuable commodity to smuggle into the country, he said.
Roughly 17,200 unaccompanied children were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol, down from almost 19,000 in March. Minors are supposed to be transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to Department of Health and Human Services custody within 72 hours. HHS is then responsible for caring for the children while officials work to reunite them with vetted family members, legal guardians, or government sponsors.
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Shelters From Reynosa to Tijuana Are at Capacity and Scrambling for Resources as the U.S. Continues to Expel Migrants .
Shelters in Mexican border cities are at capacity and scrambling for resources as the U.S. continues to expel migrants under Trump-era rule.This is one of the more resourced shelters, says Erika Pinheiro, policy and litigation director at Al Otro Lado, a legal and humanitarian aid organization who hosts seminars at the shelter to explain U.S. immigration policy. While there are several shelters throughout Tijuana with nicer amenities, there are even more with less than Embajadores. Some are just concrete walls with tents pitched inside. At Embajadores, they have electricity and running water.