Facility for migrant children in rented “man camp” to close

A controversial holding facility for unaccompanied migrant children previously used as a private dormitory “man camp” for oil field workers will likely close by the end of the week, CBS News has confirmed. 

The closure of the site in Carrizo Springs, Texas, which was first reported by Vice News, comes amid an annual summertime decrease in the number of unaccompanied migrant children who end up in U.S. government custody after crossing the southern border.

The facility was opened July 1, and within 24 hours some 200 children children were placed there. The children were labeled “unaccompanied” either because they crossed the border alone, or because they were separated from non-parental relatives by U.S. authorities.

The nonprofit that operates the facility, BCFS, was given a 60-day, $50 million contract, with options to extend it through January 2020 for up to $300 million. The site has a capacity of 1,300 children but never came close to approaching that number of residents. 

The entrance to a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, rented by the federal government to hold as many as 1,300 migrant unaccompanied children, beginning July 1, 2019. Google Maps

Krista Piferrer, a spokesperson for BCFS, said in a text message to CBS News that all children currently residing at the facility are expected to be placed with sponsors — parents, relatives or family friends — within a week.

“Our leadership anticipates all children to be reunified this weekend,” Piferrer said.

The facility in Carrizo Springs was opened as a “temporary influx shelter,” meant to absorb what had been a spike in the number of unaccompanied migrant children apprehended this spring.

The sudden closure comes amid a sharp drop in the overall population of unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. custody. In early June, there were more than 13,000, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the agency tasked with caring for the group. That figure has dropped to just over 10,000, according to the agency.

The nation’s only other “temporary influx shelter,” in Homestead, Florida, has also seen a dramatic decrease in its population. In the last month its residents have dropped from more than 2,300 kids to 990, according to an ORR spokesperson.

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