Tuesday June 25, 2019
Home Lead Story US Opens New ...

US Opens New Mass Facility in Texas For Migrant Children

The new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, will hold up to 1,600 teens

0
//
US, Mass Facility, Texas, Migrant
FILE - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows some of 1,036 migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, May 29, 2019. The federal government is opening a new mass shelter for migrant children near the U.S-Mexico border. VOA

The federal government is opening a new mass facility to hold migrant children in Texas and considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding a total of 3,000 new beds to the overtaxed system.

The new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, will hold up to 1,600 teens in a complex that once housed oil field workers on government-leased land near the border, said Mark Weber, a spokesman for Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The agency is also weighing using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,400 kids in the coming weeks, amid the influx of children traveling to the U.S. alone. Most of the children have arrived in the U.S. without their families and are held in government custody while authorities determine if they can be released to relatives or family friends.

Shelters not subject to child welfare rules

US, Mass Facility, Texas, Migrant
FILE – Migrant children play soccer at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla., April 19, 2019. VOA

All the new facilities will be considered temporary emergency shelters and thus not be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements, Weber said. In January, the government shut down a large detention camp in the Texas desert that was unlicensed and another unlicensed facility remains in operation in the Miami suburbs.

“It is our legal requirement to take care of these children so that they are not in Border Patrol facilities,” Weber said. “They will have the services that ORR always provides, which is food, shelter and water.”

Under fire for the death of two children who went through the agency’s network of shelters and facing lawsuits over the treatment of teens in its care, the agency says it must set up new facilities or risk running out of beds.

Flores agreement questions

Also Read- English-speaking ISIS Supporters Exploit Messaging App

The announcement of the program’s expansion follows the government’s decision to scale back or cut paying for recreation, English-language courses and legal services for the more than 13,200 migrant toddlers, school-age children and teens in its custody.

The Health and Human Services department, which oversees the refugee office, notified shelters around the country last week that it was not going to reimburse them for teachers’ pay, legal services or recreational equipment, saying budget cuts were needed as record numbers of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, largely from Central America. In May, border agents apprehended 11,507 children traveling alone.

Attorneys said the move violates a legal settlement known as the Flores agreement that requires the government to provide education and recreational activities to migrant children in its care.

US, Mass Facility, Texas, Migrant
The federal government is opening a new mass facility to hold migrant children. Pixabay

Advocates have slammed the move as punitive, saying such services are typically available to adult prisoners.

Also Read- Nokia Brings Budget Smartphone ‘Nokia 2.2’ in India

“ORR’s cancelling of these services will inflict further harm on children, many of whom continue to languish for months without being placed safely and expeditiously into a sponsor’s care. That is not only unacceptable, it could be in violation of the law,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee with oversight on the agency’s budget. (VOA)

Next Story

Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores

0
lung diseases
FILE - An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

Those buying tobacco from shops in the US, especially small stores, are usually not asked for identification hence it is easy for underage users to buy cigarettes there, says a study.

When researchers, aged 20 and 21, visited a variety of shops in the US, more than 60 per cent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.

In the study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that these young adults slipped by without an age check most often when they visited small stores, tobacco shops and shops plastered with tobacco ads.

“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores – tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising – are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

tobacco
FILE – Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. VOA

“One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations,” she added.

The study included visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco retailers in 2017.

Also Read: Use of Oral Steroids Increases Risk of Infection in People with Inflammation

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores.

“Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers,” Roberts said. (IANS)