A look inside tents at Tornillo port of entry where immigrant children are being housed
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
We are getting a first look at where immigrant children are being housed in El Paso.
The Administration for Children and Families at the Health and Human Services Department released pictures of the tents at the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry Monday.
At least 18 tents can be counted in one of the photos. Another photo shows bunk beds inside, and a third photos shows a boy who appears to receive medical attention.
HHS said there is a capacity for 360 children inside of the facility. Several lawmakers have told CBS4, there is 98 children, mainly boys ages 16 and 17, housed inside the facility.
The children are unaccompanied minors, according to HHS.
Congressman Will Hurd said in an interview with CNN early Monday morning that the boys are unaccompanied children that had to be transferred to Tornillo due to the government separating many other children from their parents at the border.
The children who are separated from their parents as a result of President Donald Trump's Zero Tolerance Policy are being housed in other shelters throughout Texas while the unaccompanied boys are transferred to tent cities.
The girls are being housed in other shelters throughout the country, according to HHS.
The port is located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of El Paso, in an area that's mostly desert and where temperatures routinely approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). The tent-like structures that comprise the shelter have air conditioning.
Federal figures show nearly 2,000 children were separated from adults from April 19 to May 31 as part of President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown.
The administration's decision to separate children, combined with the flow of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the border illegally, has prompted a surge in the number of children in U.S. shelters.
A smarter immigration strategy would address root problems such as economic instability and a breakdown in the rule of law in Central America, he said, while noting the need to use advanced technology and manpower to guard the border.
A week after community leaders received letters notifying them about the arrival of unaccompanied undocumented minors, tents were erected at the port.
Friday, children were seen playing soccer outside the tents.