United States

Congressman: Youth Shelter Reflects Flawed Immigration Plan

Teenage boys are being moved to tent-like shelters near El Paso

Migrant children separated from their parents at the border between the United States and Mexico were brought to an encampment at the Tornillo Port of Entry Friday.

The U.S. government plans on harboring an estimated 360 children at the port of entry, and that may grow.

The encampment is part of an effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to deter migrants from coming to the United States illegally. The administration began a “Zero Tolerance Policy,” in April, which began the separation of children from their parents upon crossing the border.

A Republican congressman from San Antonio who has toured the tent-like shelter says the facility is a byproduct of a flawed immigration strategy.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd said Saturday that the boys began arriving Friday, the same day he toured the shelter, and they're being moved from other shelters to make way for younger immigrant children taken into custody at the border.

Hurd said the treatment of minors shouldn't be used as a deterrent to prevent others from entering the U.S.

On Saturday, children could be seen playing soccer through the fence separating the U.S. and Mexico. They were taken back into large white tents after a rainstorm came into the area.

A few El Pasoans and five members of United We Dream, a pro-immigrant organization, protested the encampment and federal policy to separate the children from their parents.

“I was really outraged that the Trump administration would say that God ordained this,” said El Pasoan Barbara Medina.

Ambar Pinto, a member of United We Dream, traveled from Alexandria, Virginia to be part of protests against the Trump administration’s policy.

“I think the hope and vision of United We Dream is we shouldn’t go through this,” she said. “That families, loved ones, children are no longer detained. That we don’t have to see this over and over again.”

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, will lead a Father’s Day march Sunday morning to raise awareness of the tent camp and its "inhumane" separation of children from their parents. The congressman will be joined by local leaders including former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, advocates including Latino Victory Project, elected officials and concerned Texans. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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