Hundreds of migrant children, from shelters in Kansas to New York, have been woken up in the middle of the night in recent weeks. Provided with a backpack and some snacks, loaded into the buses for a cross country travel, they are being moved to their new home. And it is nothing else than a barren tent city that you will find situated on the hot desert of West Texas.
To this point, most of the children that were undocumented were being held in private foster homes or shelters under the command of federal immigration authorities. They were made to sleep, two to three individuals, in a single room. Receiving formal schooling and visits from the law authorities and legal representatives, they were doing pretty good.
But recently, they have started moving them to the barren land in West Texas. Held in sand colored tents, aligned in rows in Tornio, Texas, these kids are living in a group of 20 children per tent. Categorized according to their gender, they are made to sleep lined up in bunks. What is worse is the fact that they aren’t receiving and formal education. Although the government has given them workbooks, there isn’t any check on their progress and whether they work on it or not is totally up to those little lads. Their access to legal services is also limited.
The federal government is struggling to find room for 13000+ detained migrant children, which is labelled as largest population ever, and the numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year. Therefore, they are carrying out these midnight journeys all across the country.
The Department of Health and Human Services is in charge of taking care of these children. According to the stats provided by them, the length of time migrant children spend in custody has doubled up in a single year, with their stay between 34 to 59 days.
The camp where these kids are being transported in Tornio is operating like a small pop-up city. It lies 35 miles away from the El Paso on Mexican border. These tents are equipped with portable toilets and the air conditions are also available. They vary in size and are provided with recreation and medical care facilities. The facility was opened back in June for only 30 days and had the capacity to hold 400 individuals. However, it has expanded to house 3800 by now and is likely to be operational at least till the end of this year.