The US government released some memorable images on Thursday, revealing the inside of a mysterious new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) immigration detention center for children who crossed illegally into the United States.
Called “Casa Padre,” the former 250,000-square-foot Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, houses nearly 1,469 boys between the ages of 10 and 17.
This is the first glimpse inside one of these detention centers that are spring up across the U.S. since the Trump administration enacted a “zero tolerance” immigration policy in April, the result, well, thousands of children have been separated from their parents who illegally crossed the border with them.
Earlier this week, the federal government allowed a hand-selected group of reporters to tour the warehouse of children. Before entering, journalists had to agree to a list of preconditions, including no cameras, cell phones, smart devices, and or recorders. Officials told the journalists that children and employees were not allowed to be interviewed.
Jacob Soboroff, an MSNBC correspondent, said, “I’m a part of the first group of journalists to go into the shelter for detained child migrants in Brownsville Texas since the zero tolerance separation policy was announced. 1000+ boys here.”
I’m a part of the first group of journalists to go into the shelter for detained child migrants in Brownsville Texas since the zero tolerance separation policy was announced. 1000+ boys here.
Soboroff also said the Trump administration has chosen a new location — Tornillo, Texas — where “HHS will erect a ‘tent city,’ full of large tents whose walls touch the ground, estimated to hold approximately 450 beds for children.”
Just confirmed with @ckubeNBC: @HHSGov has selected Tornillo Land Port of Entry near El Paso as the first temporary shelter location.
Exclusive Video: NBC News secured video from inside the overcrowded Casa Padre facility.
“The kids here don’t get out much – spending almost 22 hours a day indoors.”- @jacobsoboroff is one of the first journalists invited inside America’s largest detention facility for migrant children pic.twitter.com/g6EiwFBdBY
With the 2018 midterm elections in the not too distant future, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy could turn into an overcrowding crisis at facilities, as some reporters who toured the Casa Padre facility have already pointed out.
It is evident that officials in Washington are scrambling to contain the overflow by opening tent cities in various regions.
With the destruction of retail brick and mortar stores, there should be enough Kmarts, Toys“R”Us, and Walmarts around the nation to provide as core infrastructure for President Trump’s exploding new industry of child migrant detention centers.