Over 700 children in detention as Biden reopens Trump-era infamous site for refugee kids
US President Joe Biden has opened a Trump-era detention center to lock up hundreds of refugee children, a move reminiscent of the former president’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Biden reopened the site – a reverted camp for oil field workers in Carrizo Springs, Texas — to hold 700 refugee children.
The camp will be home to kids between the ages of 13 and 17, dozens of whom have already arrived there, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection document (CBP).
Under an agreement — the Flores Settlement Agreement — CBP is prohibited from holding children for more than three days.
The same agreement says asylum-seeking children transferred to ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement} detention centers cannot spend more than 20 days there, after which they must be released.
Around 200 children had already been held up for over 48 hours, and in the case of nine child refugees, for over 72 hours, which exceeds the maximum limit.
Last month, the CBP encountered 5,707 child refugees at the southwest border, almost a thousand more than in December, 4,855.
The Biden administration, which came under fire for reopening the child detention facility, has defended the move as a temporary fix in the times of the coronavirus pandemic.
It claimed that the notorious facility was reopened since the Office of Refugee Resettlement cannot house as many asylum seekers as before due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The US president had promised to roll back Trump’s assault on the country’s immigration system.