A migrant child facility opened Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The mixed messages coming from the Biden administration about illegal immigration are producing another crisis at the southern border. The number of unaccompanied minors trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border is rising quickly. They must be housed somewhere when they are caught and detained. Suddenly, kids in cages isn’t a thing but warm and fuzzy childrens’ facilities are opening.
If Carrizo Springs sounds familiar it is because I have written about it several times, as has John, including posts just this month. The facility was strongly criticized by the open borders crowd and only remained open for a month during the Trump administration.
During the Obama administration, detention centers called holding facilities were built along the southern border to manage the surges of migrants looking to cross the border. Unaccompanied migrant minors pose a different challenge than migrant families or adults. By law, once unaccompanied children are stopped by the border patrol, they have 72 hours to transfer the children to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS then puts them in a shelter, and they find placement for them somewhere in the United States. The facility in Carrizo Springs is called an overflow shelter. It was closed when the need was no longer present during the Trump administration.
Unaccompanied minors are once again surging toward the border. Coyotes are taking advantage of families and encouraging them to send their children because the Biden administration promises to implement a kinder, gentler approach to illegal immigration. You may have noticed that the White House is deliberately trying to tamp down that message now that they realize the folly of it. Central Americans are taking Biden’s words on illegal immigration seriously. They are coming.
During the campaign, Biden pledged to undo former president Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies. In his first month in office, Biden signed several executive orders reversing many of those policies. Last week, he and House Democrats introduced a plan that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. The administration also reversed some of Trump’s expulsion practices by accepting unaccompanied children into the country, a change that also is contributing to an increase of minors in government facilities, officials said.
So, the facility in Carrizo Springs was dusted off and given a fresh coat of paint and now suddenly it’s a very child-friendly place. Never mind that it is the same facility used by the Trump administration. Now it receives a glowing story in the Washington Post chock full of little feel-good details like “colorful trailers”. As almost an afterthought, the article mentions the decorations in the entryway still up from its time in use during the previous administration.
At the 66-acre site, groups of beige trailers encircle a giant white dining tent, a soccer field and a basketball court. There is a bright blue hospital tent with white bunk beds inside. A legal services trailer has the Spanish word “Bienvenidos,” or welcome, on a banner on its roof. There are trailers for classrooms, a barber shop, a hair salon. The facility has its own ambulances and firetrucks, as well as its own water supply.
The operation is based on a federal emergency management system, Weber said. The trailers are labeled with names such as Alpha, Charlie and Echo. Staff members wear matching black-and-white T-shirts displaying their roles: disaster case manager, incident support, emergency management.
The most colorful trailer is at the entryway, where flowers, butterflies and handmade posters still hang on its walls from Carrizo’s first opening in 2019.
A few cosmetic changes make it all better, apparently. The problem for Biden is that with the pandemic, mitigation protocol requires fewer migrants housed together in facilities so more facilities will have to be made available. That’s not going to look so good for Open Borders Joe. Remember leftists like AOC and her squad traveling to the border and emoting for television cameras about how horrible detention centers are for migrants? I’m not holding my breath now that there is a Democrat back in the White House.
While it continues to expel most single adults and families under the Trump-era CDC order, the Biden administration carved out an exception for unaccompanied minors after an appeals court lifted a November ruling by a federal judge that had blocked the practice.
The policy change, formalized by CDC director Rochelle Walensky earlier this month, means that border officials will transfer most unaccompanied children to the refugee agency going forward.
While the move was praised by advocates, it has required the refugee agency to look for ways to expand its bed capacity, which was reduced due to COVID-19 mitigation measures. The office has more than 13,200 taxpayer-funded beds but says it can currently use fewer than 8,000 of them.
“We don’t know how many kids are going to be coming in the upcoming days, or weeks or months, and so we have to make sure that our contingency plans include preparing for even more bed space than we think we might need,” the HHS official said.
The next crisis on the border is only beginning. According to the CBS article, “In January, the refugee office received more than 4,000 migrant children, compared to the 39 minors it placed in its shelters in May 2020.” The COVID restrictions set forth by the CDC during the Trump administration required that border-crossers be expelled, regardless of age. “CBP recorded 5,900 apprehensions of unaccompanied minors and 7,500 of parents and children along the U.S.-Mexico border last month, numbers not seen since July 2019 and January 2020, respectively.”
Ironically, despite the non-stop negative reporting on how the Trump administration handled unaccompanied migrant children, Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, admits the children “always received good care and that never wavered between administrations.” Oh. Now that Biden is doing the same thing as Trump did, the children are ok.
Joe Biden has no new ideas. He’s bringing back the bad old days of the Obama administration as quickly as possible. This is a good example of just how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Trump was consistent in his messaging about illegal immigration all along. Biden has opened the floodgates and now he’ll have to deal with it. He’ll need more than a new coat of paint.
NEW — The rising number of migrant children taken into custody at the border in recent days has severely strained the US government's ability to house them.
— Camilo Montoya-Galvez (@camiloreports) February 23, 2021