The Pentagon announced it has approved additional space to house unaccompanied migrant children in an effort to move the children away from Border Patrol facilities that are intended for adults.
The new facility will open in Lackland, Texas, at Joint Base San Antonio. The Pentagon says that the facility will allow Homeland Security to construct temporary dorms.
The new facility comes amid concerns from advocates on the living conditions for children at housing locations. While the Biden administration has largely kept intact many of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, the administration has refused to immediately deport unaccompanied migrant children.
The new facilities came at the request of the Biden administration, which said on Monday that Border Patrol facilities “are not places made for children.”
“Children, presenting at our border, who are fleeing violence for fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis, we feel that it is our responsibility to humanely approach,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “This circumstance, and make sure they are treated with treated and put in conditions that are safe.”
While there has been a surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the border in recent months, the numbers are not unprecedented. According to Border Patrol, there were 9,547 unaccompanied minors detained in February 2021, which is down from a peak of 11,861 unaccompanied minors detained in May 2019.