When she ran for president, Kamala Harris vowed that one of the first things she would do if elected is shut down the private detention facilities for migrant children, calling them a “human rights abuse.”
Now, with a border crisis accompanying the dismantling of President Trump’s immigration policies, the Biden-Harris administration is setting up new private detention facilities to handle the overflow from makeshift government shelters. Media finally have been allowed to see images of the more than 4,000 migrants crammed into the government facility in Donna, Texas, that was meant for only 1,000. In fact, under current COVID-19 protocols, the official capacity is only 250.
Harris, who has been designated by President Biden as the point person for the border crisis, is seen in a video in June 2019 making the vow at a campaign stop at a migrant detention center in Homestead, Florida.
“What is happening with the detention of these children, the circumstances by which they arrived, is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,” she said at the time.
“And so we are here to stand up and say that we are not going to allow this to happen not on our watch.
“I will tell you, when elected ,the first thing I’m going to do — one of the first things — is to shut down these private detention facilities.”
See her remarks:
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, a new private facility to house migrant children was set to open in New Mexico as federal holding facilities become more crowded.
The Intercept reported March 14 that the bottleneck that has kept thousands of children in Border Patrol custody longer than the court-mandated maximum 72 hours has several companies vying for contracts with the government to provide housing.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “look at every available option to quickly expand physical capacity for appropriate lodging.”
Last week, a Democratic congressman released photos from the Donna, Texas, facility that show, in his words, the “terrible conditions for the children.”
At least three children have drowned in the Rio Grande since the Biden-Harris administration took office, and many children have been raped or sexually assaulted.
On Tuesday, Border Patrol official Oscar Escamilla described to Reuters the story of a little girl he encountered at the Donna facility in February who had could not speak because she had been gang raped.
“Those things hit hard,” the officer said.
Border Patrol on Wednesday released a shocking video of smugglers abandoning a 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old girl at the border in the New Mexico desert in the middle of the night, Fox News reported.
The children had been dropped over a 14-foot border barrier.
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