Migrant kids crowded into Texas facility as space runs low

Migrant kids crowded into Texas facility as space runs low
Young unaccompanied migrants, from ages 3 to 9, watch television inside a playpen at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. Source: AP Photo
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Daily US Times: More than 500 migrant children were packed into plastic-walled rooms in a Texas facility built for thirty-two people, sitting inches apart on mats with foil blankets Tuesday at the largest United States Customs and Border Protection (CBC) holding facility for unaccompanied children.

Overall, CBP’s main child processing center held over 4,100 migrants, more than 3,400 of them children who traveled to the US-Mexico border alone. The rest of the migrants were families.

The facility was designed for 250 people under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the Covid pandemic, has had to adapt amid a spike in unaccompanied children and families crossing the border.

The US administration allowed reporters to see conditions of the facility for the first time since the facility opened February 9.

It was a grim picture.

A 3,200-square-foot space had been divided into several rooms for 32 children each under the guidelines of CDC, each separated by thick plastic walls instead of the chain-link fence used by previous administrations.

Despite the health recommendations, one of the “pods” held nearly 700 unaccompanied kids, another had above 500 and others had nearly 600. Everyone wore masks, but coronavirus tests are not done unless they show symptoms.

Doors to the rooms were open for free movement. But there was little room to move around and no one to play games. Most migrant children just sat on the ground close together, chatting quietly. Some were wrapped in foil blankets and lights are dimmed at night.

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