The White House has responded to backlash after reopening a Trump facility for migrant children.
The Trump administration introduced a family separation policy during its four years in office as a way of tackling illegal immigration in the US.
Part of the policy introduced in 2018 saw people prosecuted for all unauthorised crossings, making no exceptions for asylum seekers or people with children.
In 2019, nearly 70,000 migrant children were detained by the Trump administration, according to The Independent. These children were detained in Trump facilities for long periods of time and were described as being ‘caged’.
Despite the evident horror surrounding the use of the facilities in recent years, the Biden administration has reopened one of them, which has shocked many.
The detention centre in question is located in Texas and is a reconverted camp for oil field workers in Carrizo Springs. It’s expected that around 700 children will be held there, all of which are between the ages of 13 and 17.
The White House has received backlash for its decision to reopen the centre, something The Guardian‘s Moustafa Bayoumi described as ‘an awful development, reminding [him] of some of the worst abuses of the Trump years’.
Jen Psaki, press secretary for the White House, has since defended the Biden administration’s actions.
In a statement, Psaki said yesterday, February 24:
We have a number of unaccompanied minors, children who are coming into the country without their families. What we are not doing, what the last administration did, was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border. We are not doing that, that is immoral and is not the approach of this administration.
‘We can send them back home and do a dangerous journey back, we are not doing that either, that is also putting them at risk,’ she added.
Explaining their options, she said:
We can quickly transfer them from CBP to these HHS-run facilities, that is one option. Or we can put them with families and sponsors without any vetting – there were some problems that that process ran into as well.
Psaki went on to insist that the facility has been ‘revamped’ and that there are teachers and medical facilities there.
She added that their objective is to ‘move these kids quickly from there to vetted, sponsored families and to places where they can safely be’.
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