Yesterday I wrote about the mayor of Yuma, Arizona taking the step of declaring a state of emergency over the city’s inability to handle the growing number of migrants. Now the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that two new detention centers — tent cities — will be built along the Texas border in the next two weeks.
Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, went on a listening tour of south Texas Wednesday to hear concerns from border town officials about the ever-increasing flow of migrants into the state. He told reporters that the facilities will be opened in El Paso and Donna in the Rio Grande Valley. Migrants will be both processed and held in the facilities. The Trump administration expects to temporarily detain up to 1,000 migrants, both families and unaccompanied minors, with 500 in each. Laundry facilities, showers, and outdoor recreational space will be available. The plan is to operate the new centers through the end of the year at an estimated cost of $37.2 million.
In order to meet the deadline of April 30, 2019, only one contractor is being used as a vendor for supplies and equipment.
The federal government’s solicitation for vendors names Deployed Resources of Rome, New York, as the company the government is in negotiations with to supply kitchen equipment, showers, laundries, bathrooms and office space. The solicitation says the government only plans to negotiate with one company “because the facilities need to be established by April 30, 2019.” The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the contract.
Last year, Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke was among the protesters at a detention post in Tornillo that housed unaccompanied minors. That facility began shutting down in January 2019, as I noted at the time, with the last of the minors released to other locations. No alternative solution was offered at the time. It’s no surprise that now another detention center must be opened to process and house migrants. The border cities and towns are overwhelmed and resources have been stretched thin. There is simply no end in sight.
All of this comes in the same week that Attorney General William Barr issued an order to immigration judges to deny migrants the opportunity to post bail when jailed for illegally entering the country. While the measure is meant to discourage the heavy influx of people seeking asylum, it’s expected to add to the overcrowding in detention centers.
For weeks, federal, local and nonprofit officials along the border have been struggling to handle a spike in asylum-seekers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Mr. McAleenan, on his first trip to the border as acting homeland security secretary, said the numbers have become unmanageable.
In March, officials encountered or apprehended more than 103,000 migrants, the most in any single month in more than a decade, he said. “Yesterday, in one 24-hour period, we had over 4,800 people cross our border, a new record for the modern era,” Mr. McAleenan said. “Almost 1,000 of them crossed in just three large groups, 375 people in the largest of those groups.”
Meanwhile, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is fed up with the problems along the border and in particular sex trafficking. He often calls sex trafficking a form of slavery, as he did Wednesday night during an interview on Fox News Channel. Upping the ante, he invoked the name of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and labeled her as a “slaveholder”. He also said she’s “almost treasonous” because of her positions held about the border. Well, now.
“It’s almost treasonous what she’s doing — selling out this country,” Patrick said of Pelosi Wednesday night on the FOX News Channel. “I view her as nothing more than a slaveholder because she’s in charge of not helping these people, these poor young girls.”
Earlier in the interview, Patrick talked about how gangs and cartels are engaged in sex trafficking along the Mexican border, calling it a form of modern day slavery that forces immigrant women into prostitution.
Patrick was responding to a crack Pelosi made during an interview on CNN chastising President Trump for blaming immigrants for America’s problems. Pelosi is in Europe, by the way, and publicly bashing President Trump, which used to be taboo for elected officials to do. Before Democrats whine about the traditions and protocols that Trump allegedly violates, perhaps they should check themselves.
Pelosi’s spokesman responded to Lt. Gov. Patrick. The hypocrisy from Democrats continues.
“This is an example of absurdity bordering on nonsense,” said Pelosi spokesman Jorge Aguilar. “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick knows and should act better. His comments, which are beneath the dignity of the office he holds, are just another reason why Texans are fleeing the Republican Party in droves … ”
It sounds like there is room for everyone to “act better.”