Biden once again does exactly what he said he wouldn’t do
CARRIZO SPRINGS, Tex. — Dozens of migrant teens boarded vans Monday for the trip down a dusty road to a former man camp for oil field workers here, the first migrant child facility opened under the Biden administration.
The emergency facility — a vestige of the Trump administration that was open for only a month in summer 2019 — is being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 to 17.
Government officials say the camp is needed because facilities for migrant children have had to cut capacity by nearly half because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has been inching up, with January reporting the highest total — more than 5,700 apprehensions — for that month in recent years.
But immigration lawyers and advocates question why the Biden administration would choose to reopen a Trump-era facility that was the source of protests and controversy. From the “tent city” in Tornillo, Tex., to a sprawling for-profit facility in Homestead, Fla., emergency shelters have been criticized by advocates for immigrants, lawyers and human rights activists over their conditions, cost and lack of transparency in their operations.
“It’s unnecessary, it’s costly, and it goes absolutely against everything [President] Biden promised he was going to do,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio-based immigration lawyer who represents unaccompanied minors. “It’s a step backward, is what it is. It’s a huge step backward.”
During the campaign, Biden pledged to undo former president Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies. In his first month in office, Biden signed several executive orders reversing many of those policies. Last week, he and House Democrats introduced a plan that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. The administration also reversed some of Trump’s expulsion practices by accepting unaccompanied children into the country, a change that also is contributing to an increase of minors in government facilities, officials said.