A new shelter in Carrizo Springs, Tx., for migrant teenagers who crossed the border alone is only 10 percent full and the contractor running it concedes it may be “too much, too late,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “It should have been here in May, so kids weren’t in the Border Patrol jail cells,” said Kevin Dinnin of BCFS, a private nonprofit operating the emergency influx shelter, which can house up to 1,300 teen boys and girls. Federal officials have blamed a shortage of available shelter space for the fact that some children spent nearly a month in the cells, which lack basic amenities such as showers and have been criticized as unsafe. At the same time, some facilities built to hold children weren’t full or were used for adults instead. More than 63,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border between October and June, the most since 2016.
Illegal border crossings slowed last month. In May, 300 children daily were being transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees care for unaccompanied minors. In recent weeks, transfers have dropped to about 150 a day, said HHS spokesman Mark Weber. The Carrizo Springs shelter is one of 168 overseen by ORR, all operated by private contractors, currently housing 12,000 children. The Texas facility’s dorms, which previously housed oil workers, have three-bedroom suites, each with two sets of bunk beds and a private bathroom. Amid the national outcry over conditions for migrant children in Border Patrol cells, BCFS has taken the unusual step of offering weekly news media tours of the compound. Previously, most facilities for migrant children have been off limits to the public, save for a handful of tours given to journalists and elected officials after criticism of the conditions inside.