By Emily Jacobs
The New York Post
February 7, 2021
The Biden administration will open an overflow facility able to accommodate up to 700 migrant children within the next two weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.
In a statement released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the department announced plans to reopen a “temporary Influx Care Facility” in Carrizo Springs, Texas, within the next two weeks.
IMMIGRATION Letters to the Editor — Feb. 9, 2021 Tricky Joe Biden’s family influence: Devine Biden reinstates ‘catch and release’ policy at the southern border President Biden will raise cap on refugee admissions to 125,000
“Initially, the Carrizo Springs ICF will accommodate approximately 700 children in hard-sided structures. Additional semi-permanent (soft-sided) capacity may be added if necessary, though ORR will always prioritize placing children in hard-sided structures over semi-permanent structures,” the statement read.
The facility will be used for children above the age of 13 who have completed quarantine for COVID-19.
There are currently over 4,700 children in the care of that division, which also currently funds over 13,000 licensed beds for migrants.
Migrants from Central America cross the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to request asylum in El Paso, Texas.
The temporary facility will be used in this situation due to COVID restrictions, which kept too many of the migrant children from being kept in one place to allow for social distancing.
“HHS is mindful of these children’s vulnerability, and our priority is the safety and wellbeing of each child in our care. HHS anticipates the need to start placing children at Carrizo Springs in 15 days or soon after,” the department’s statement read.
The Trump administration faced considerable criticism over its use of temporary shelters, also known as “tent cities,” in towns across the southern border.
Migrants from Central America are detained by a Border Patrol agent El Paso, Texas.Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
Being temporary, these housing facilities are typically not held to the same regulatory standards as long-term shelters.
A spokesperson for HHS did not respond to The Post’s request for comment on the temporary facility.