White House Defends Reopening Of Texas Care Facility For Migrant Children

White House Defends Reopening of Texas Care Facility for Migrant Children

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th February, 2021) White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday defended the Biden administration's decision to reopen a Texas care facility to house up to 700 migrant children.

"This is not kids being kept in cages, this is a facility that was opened that's going to follow the same standard as other HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] facilities. That is never our intention of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border, that would be inhumane," Psaki said during a press briefing.

Psaki also said the Biden administration intends to close the facility when it is no longer needed, however, coronavirus mitigation efforts in Federal facilities for migrant children has currently limited available space.

The Biden administration will not have migrant children in facilities that are not COVID-19 safe, she added.

On Monday, HHS said it has reopened the temporary Influx Care Facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, due to an increasing number of migrant children unaccompanied by a parent who are being apprehended at the US border with Mexico.

The facility had been closed since July 2019, but has now reopened to house up to 700 migrant children ages 13 to 17 years old. As of February 18, there are currently about 6,800 unaccompanied migrant children under the care of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it has seen a steady increase in border encounters since April 2020, which has caused some facilities to reach maximum safe holding capacity. CBP data shows that more than 70,000 migrants have been apprehended at the US-Mexico border each month from October to January.