The Trump administration is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make site visits to four military installations in Texas and Arkansas during the next two weeks to evaluate their suitability for minors under age 18 who arrive at the border without an adult relative or after the government has separated them from their parents. The email characterized the site visits as a preliminary assessment. “No decisions have been made at this time,” it states.
HHS currently has the bed space to hold 10,571 children in its network of 100 foster-care facilities but those facilities are at 91 percent capacity. The Trump administration’s crackdown plans could push thousands more children into government care. A.G. Jeff Sessions say the government will take the extraordinary measure of filing criminal charges against anyone who crosses the border illegally, including parents traveling with their children. In most cases, that means adults will be held at immigration jails awaiting court dates while their children are sent to foster care.
The use of military bases to house migrant children is not without precedent. At the peak of the 2014 child migration crisis, the Obama administration used bases in Oklahoma, Texas and California to shelter more than 7,000 children over a period of several months. Critics of the family separation practices denounce the practice as heartless and cruel, saying it inflicts additional trauma on families fleeing for their lives from Central America’s bloody gang wars.
For more: The Texas Tribune