The US Government is currently providing shelter to about 13,000 detained migrant children, which is the largest population so far that the country has seen over the years. As per the recent reports, in the last few weeks, a number of such children have been moved from foster homes across the country in the middle of the night and taken to the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, which is a remote area located near the Mexican border.
Such an operation is carried out late at night mainly to avoid any escape attempts. It is expected that children are less likely to run away during the dark of night. To ensure that no one escapes prior to their transportation, none were given the slightest of warning in advance about being moved to a different place.
The Tornillo facility near the Mexico border had been set up during June this year and the venue was initially supposed to hold 400 children. However, soon that number was expanded to 1,200 during the summer, while in mid-September; reports suggested that the facility would expand its capacity to 3,800 children.
Children who were detained and been into federal custody are generally released to their parents or friends whoever applies to be sponsors. In a statement made during September, the acting deputy director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Matthew Albence, mentioned that the agency has arrested about 41 applicants who sought to sponsor detained children.
In the facility at Tornillo, migrant children are provided with air-conditioned tents and all are separated by gender. Many of these children have come from foster homes and shelters where schooling was mandatory. However, in Tornillo, such is not the case. Most of the migrant children in Tornillo are teenagers who have been waiting for placement with their family in the USA. According to reports, their move to Texas is for a temporary period. Rather than sending newly detained children to Tornillo, the US government has planned to send those who are about to be released soon. As a result, they would spend much less time in those tents. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average custody period for a migrant child has almost doubled during the past year. While it was 34 days of custody for these children during the last year, now the limit is raised to 59 days.
According to the US Border Patrol data for the Southwest, between the period of Oct. 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018, about 45,700 people were detained near the border. Such a number resembles an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, during the same period.