Trump’s Newest Shelter For Migrant Youth Is Being Shut Down

Anticipating an increase in the number of migrant children in federal custody, the U.S. government opened its second temporary influx shelter on June 30 in Carrizo Springs, Texas, a small town an hour away from the border

Photo: pixabay.com/PublicDomainPictures

A day later, it invited a group of journalists to come check out the new and well-equipped facilities. “We’ll be happy when we close it,” HHS spokesperson Mark Weber told about a dozen reporters on July 10 in an air-conditioned construction trailer at the Carrizo Springs shelter, decorated with crafts by migrant children. 

It seems he got his wish. Less than a month after it opened, the federal government has decided to shut it down due to fewer minors under its care, as initially reported by Vice NewsForbes confirmed with a source close to the shelter that it is closing as early as this weekendAt the time of the tour, 232 children—primarily from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador—stayed at the Carrizo Springs temporary influx shelter. That number fell to 122 children in less than two weeks, according to a federal press release dated July 22.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the federal shelter network, refused to comment. A spokesperson for BCFS, the San Antonio-based nonprofit running the shelter, referred Forbes to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, for an official statement on the imminent shutdown of Carrizo Springs. 

“The closure of the Carrizo Springs facility makes clear the crisis of the government’s own making: these temporary emergency facilities arose because of the government’s deliberate policy to punish children, resulting in the prolonged and indefinite detention of thousands of children,” said Denise Bell, the Researcher for Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International USA, in a statement on Thursday. “Temporary emergency shelters are never a home for children, and Carrizo and other detention facilities like it only demonstrate that these disastrous policies only endanger children, and are never, ever, in the best interests of the child.”

Just over a month ago, HHS paid $8.8 million to lease the then unused facility for five years. It had been sitting empty since 2016 when Stratton Oilfield Systems, a subsidiary of a South Carolina-based leasing company called Stratton Securities, shut down what had been housing for temporary oil workers. Its founder and owner Daniel Stratton suggested turning the camp into a detention center that same year but his suggestion was turned down by the town, and the Studios remained unoccupied until last June. There was little to no resistance to a migrant shelter in 2019, Forbes reported earlier this month. Stratton could not be reached for comment.

A day later, it invited a group of journalists to come check out the new and well-equipped facilities. “We’ll be happy when we close it,” HHS spokesperson Mark Weber told about a dozen reporters on July 10 in an air-conditioned construction trailer at the Carrizo Springs shelter, decorated with crafts by migrant children. 

It seems he got his wish. Less than a month after it opened, the federal government has decided to shut it down due to fewer minors under its care, as initially reported by Vice NewsForbes confirmed with a source close to the shelter that it is closing as early as this weekendAt the time of the tour, 232 children—primarily from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador—stayed at the Carrizo Springs temporary influx shelter. That number fell to 122 children in less than two weeks, according to a federal press release dated July 22. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the federal shelter network, refused to comment. A spokesperson for BCFS, the San Antonio-based nonprofit running the shelter, referred Forbes to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, for an official statement on the imminent shutdown of Carrizo Springs.

“The closure of the Carrizo Springs facility makes clear the crisis of the government’s own making: these temporary emergency facilities arose because of the government’s deliberate policy to punish children, resulting in the prolonged and indefinite detention of thousands of children,” said Denise Bell, the Researcher for Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International USA, in a statement on Thursday. “Temporary emergency shelters are never a home for children, and Carrizo and other detention facilities like it only demonstrate that these disastrous policies only endanger children, and are never, ever, in the best interests of the child.”

Just over a month ago, HHS paid $8.8 million to lease the then unused facility for five years. It had been sitting empty since 2016 when Stratton Oilfield Systems, a subsidiary of a South Carolina-based leasing company called Stratton Securities, shut down what had been housing for temporary oil workers. Its founder and owner Daniel Stratton suggested turning the camp into a detention center that same year but his suggestion was turned down by the town, and the Studios remained unoccupied until last June. There was little to no resistance to a migrant shelter in 2019, Forbes reported earlier this month. Stratton could not be reached for comment.

Deniz Cam, Forbes Staff

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