A new holding center for migrant children opened Sunday in Carrizo Springs, Texas. By Wednesday about one hundred activists gathered to protest the facility. Two hundred children are being held so far, and capacity is set at 1300. It is not clear that the protesters actually knew what they were protesting.
The protest was organized by two groups who promote liberal agendas. Children’s Defense Fund of Texas and the Texas Organizing Project both had protesters on the scene carrying signs demanding the abolition of ICE and the Border Patrol, closing down detention facilities, and declaring that child abuse is wrong. While we can all agree on that last bit – child abuse is wrong – closing down detention facilities and abolishing ICE and the Border Patrol are standard talking points for the open borders crowd. In other words, there was nothing new or different about this protest, except for one twist. Arrests were made and cars were towed. Three protesters were arrested and at least two cars were towed.
That is something that is not often reported during these protests, so I have to think it doesn’t regularly occur. It is not often reported that arrests were made or cars being towed from the property. As the political environment continues to heat up over illegal immigration and how to handle the record numbers of those breaching our southern border, I envision more stories like this going forward.
In this case, the manufactured protest sounds a bit premature. The facility was only open for three days before the protest occurred. There are 200 minors in the facility, one that holds 1300 minors. Allegedly the protesters came because of outrage over conditions at other facilities, including the one in Clint, Texas. You may remember the facility in Clint sent most of the minors to other facilities to relieve overcrowding. Some had to be returned to Clint, though, because other facilities had no room for them. This new facility is clearly needed.
Protesters were not protesting conditions at the newly opened center, they were protesting conditions at other facilities already dealing with the overwhelming number of detainees.
“This is a travesty and a crime against humanity,” said Cheasty Anderson, senior policy director for the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas. “We must raise our voices and cry out with one voice today, tomorrow and everyday until this is over.”
“We need to stop separating families, we need to close the camps, we need to follow the protocols that have been in place forever,” said Anderson. “There is a protocol for when families seek asylum and it does not include locking them away in maximum security prisons in the middle of nowhere.”
There are two types of these centers – there are Border Patrol facilities, which are operated by the Department of Homeland Security and there are those like this center. This is a facility that looks for sponsors for the minors. The Border Patrol operates facilities and HHS operates facilities. The new one in Carrizo Springs is operated by HHS.
Mark Weber, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noted that the recent reports were about Border Patrol facilities, which are operated by the Department of Homeland Security, not his agency. He said the newly opened facility in Carrizo Springs, which has a maximum capacity of 1,300 people, will meet high-quality health and child care standards.
“Let me be really clear: This is not a detention center,” he said. “This is a child welfare-based program that is taking care of children while we find their sponsors.”
Weber said that the emergency funding passed by Congress will ease the problems being protested. At this facility, the staff aims to contact parents or guardians within 24 hours so that they can be cared for by them while the minors await their immigration case. The goal is not to have children there for longer than 30 days.
Protesters were concerned that the facility would not provide legally required education, recreation or legal aid services to the children in its care after the Trump administration said it would cut these programs because it was running out of funds to maintain them. Weber said the emergency funding bill signed into law by President Donald Trump will allow his agency to keep those programs intact.
He said the children live in a dorm that “looks like a college dorm room with bunk beds.”
The reality is that the protesters admit that the conditions in these facilites are not the real reason for the protests. They simply don’t want the centers to exist. Those who support abolishing ICE and the Border Patrol also support open borders. They demand no consequences to those entering the U.S. outside of the proper procedure.
“It doesn’t matter how nice it is, you can have them in a mansion,” he said. “That doesn’t change the fact they’re not with their families.”
Minors have to be protected. Human trafficking is a real problem on the border. Children are being sold to come across the border with an adult not related to them in order to seek asylum. The situation isn’t perfect. Blaming the people working on the border for the woes of illegal immigration is wrong. The blame lies with adults making the decision to put their children and other minors into this dangerous situation in the first place.
— James Barragán (@James_Barragan) July 3, 2019