Govt. Adding More Beds To Handle ‘Border Kids’

The new surge in unaccompanied children showing up at U.S. borders seeking asylum has prompted the federal government to move toward two new shelters, the New York Times is reporting. The paper says that the government is moving toward “two shelters in Texas and one in California this month, adding at least 1,400 beds to handle the increased flow, senior Obama administration officials said Monday.”
 
According to a 12/7/15 NYT report, "A United States Border Patrol vehicle at the border wall near Abram, Tex., last month. Credit Delcia Lopez/The Monitor, via Associated Press"

According to a 12/7/15 NYT report, “A United States Border Patrol vehicle at the border wall near Abram, Tex., last month. Credit Delcia Lopez/The Monitor, via Associated Press”

Family detention centers and the unaccompanied youth centers have been controversial and a federal judge has ordered the family shelters closed, although officials hope to work around that order. The Times also notes that “… on Monday, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, asked the Pentagon to also prepare tentative plans to provide shelter for 5,000 more youths. Those beds are not needed at this time, officials said, but the health department, which runs the shelters, would give the Department of Defense 30 days’ notice to get them ready if the numbers of young border crossers continue to rise.”
 
Immigration cases are often incorrectly seen as criminal court issues. The “courts” are actually a function of the U.S. Justice Department and those facing actions are classified as civil court participants. One effect of that is they do not have the same rights to counsel as if they were criminally charged.
 

At $3-per-day, immigrants detained by U.S. keep detention centers going

The Los Angeles Times has another story raising questions about how the government goes about detaining would-be immigrants at for-profit detention centers. The report notes that immigrants are allowed to “volunteer” to work, doing chores like landscaping, cleaning and cooking. The reporter talks with a mother who fled Honduras in September with her 11-year-old son and ended up at a family detention center in rural Texas.

“I worked immediately,” the 36-year-old mother said. “In order to have something to eat, to buy treats for my son.” The LAT says the woman “… cleaned bathrooms, hallways and other areas of the government-contracted detention center for $3 a day. At the commissary, a bag of potato chips cost $4, bottled water $2. The facility in Karnes City is run by Geo Group, the country’s second-largest prison company.

“It’s ironic — it’s illegal for them to work, but they’re working for the immigration service in a sense,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank in Washington. An ACLU source in the report uses another word for the practice: slavery.

Read the LAT story here.