Detention Of Migrant Children Is Skyrocketing To 12,800 In 2018

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The migrant children are being held in a bottleneck bureaucratic situation where in the past they were released to live with families and other sponsors but now they are being detained longer in different shelters around the country for longer periods of time. Most of these children from Central America, have come to the US without their parents.

The question is why, is there this delay in releasing/ processing the children into appropriate placements and the other is, if there is a financial benefit to sheltering these children for longer time periods.

The numbers for detained children in shelters has exploded five-fold from 2,400 in May 2017 to 12,800 in 2018.

Image result for photos of shelters caring for detained migrant children

Here is the rest of the story…

On September 12, 2018, Caitlin Dickerson of the New York Times penned the following report, “Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever”


“Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.”

“Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than five-fold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.”

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“The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.”

“Most of the children crossed the border alone, without their parents. Many are teenagers from Central America, and they are housed in a system of more than 100 shelters across the United States, with the highest concentration near the southwest border.”

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“The new data was reported to members of Congress, who shared it with The Times. It shows that despite the Trump administration’s efforts to discourage Central American migrants, roughly the same number of children are crossing the border as in years past. The big difference, said those familiar with the shelter system, is that red tape and fear brought on by stricter immigration enforcement have discouraged relatives and family friends from coming forward to sponsor children.”

“Shelter capacities have hovered close to 90 percent since at least May, compared to about 30 percent a year ago. Any new surge in border crossings, which could happen at any time, could quickly overwhelm the system, operators say.”

“The closer they get to 100 percent, the less ability they will have to address anything unforeseen,” said Mark Greenberg, who oversaw the care of migrant children for the Health and Human Services Department under President Barack Obama. “Even if there’s not a sudden influx, they will be running out of capacity soon unless something changes.”

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“The administration appeared to move to address that on Tuesday, when it announced that it will triple the size of a temporary “tent city” in Tornillo, Tex., to house up to 3,800 children through the end of the year. Immigrant advocates and members of Congress reacted to the news with distress, because conditions are comparatively harsh in such large overflow facilities, compared with traditional shelters.”

“Facilities like the one in Tornillo are also more expensive to operate, according to Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the shelter program. She said such facilities cost about $750 per child per day, or three times the amount of a typical shelter.”

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“You are flying in the face of child welfare, and we’re doing it by design,” Ms. DeLauro said. “You drive up the cost and you prolong the trauma on these children.”

“Federal authorities said they were dealing with high levels of illegal border crossings and requests for asylum. “The number of unaccompanied alien children apprehended are a symptom of the larger issue of a broken immigration system,” Evelyn Stauffer, press secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “That is why H.H.S. joins the president in calling on Congress to address this broken system and the pull factors that have led to increasing numbers at the U.S. border.”

“The system for sheltering migrant children came under scrutiny this summer, when more than 2,500 children who were separated from their parents were housed in federally contracted shelters under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance border enforcement policy. But those children were only a fraction of the total number of children who are currently detained.”

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Historically, children categorized as “unaccompanied” have been placed with sponsors, such as parents already in the United States, extended family members or family friends, as soon as the sponsors can be vetted by federal authorities. But the new data shows that the placement process has slowed significantly. Monthly releases have plummeted by about two-thirds since last year.

“The delays in vetting sponsors relate, in part, to changes the Trump administration has made in how the process works. In June, the authorities announced that potential sponsors and other adult members of their households would have to submit fingerprints, and that the data would be shared with immigration authorities.”

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“Traditionally, most sponsors have been undocumented themselves, and therefore are wary of risking deportation by stepping forward to claim sponsorship of a child. Even those who are willing to become sponsors have had to wait months to be fingerprinted and otherwise reviewed.”

“Federal officials say their vetting procedures are designed to safeguard the children in their care.”

“Children who enter the country illegally are at high risk for exploitation by traffickers and smugglers,” Ms. Stauffer said in her statement.”

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“But the longer children are detained, the more anxious and depressed they are likely to become, according to Mr. Greenberg, who oversaw the program under Mr. Obama. When that happens, children may try to harm themselves or escape, and can become violent with the staff and with one another, he said.”

“Stories of such behavior have emerged through reporting in recent months as the shelter system has faced intense criticism by members of Congress and the public.”

“Being in congregate care for an extended period of time is not a good thing. It increases the likelihood of things going wrong,” Mr. Greenberg said.”

Link to report: Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever …

Image result for photos of shelters caring for detained migrant children

As per a 6/21/18 New York Times report, “The business of housing, transporting and watching over migrant children detained along the southwest border is not a multimillion-dollar business.”

It’s a billion-dollar one.

“The nonprofit Southwest Key Programs has won at least $955 million in federal contracts since 2015 to run shelters and provide other services to immigrant children in federal custody. Its shelter for migrant boys at a former Walmart Supercenter in South Texas has been the focus of nationwide scrutiny, but Southwest Key is but one player in the lucrative, secretive world of the migrant-shelter business. About a dozen contractors operate more than 30 facilities in Texas alone, with numerous others contracted for about 100 shelters in 16 other states.”

Link to entire report: The Billion-Dollar Business of Operating Shelters for Migrant Children/ NYT


  1. Unfortunately, Gronda, I have to support Trump on immigration – and here is why.

    I have long followed the illegal economic immigration into Europe and the effects are becoming increasingly negative – as you probably can see on the news, there are an increasing number of Islamic extremist attacks on innocent European citizens, many of which result in life-threatening injuries or even mortalities.

    President Obama was tough on deporting illegal economic migrants coming into the US and Trump has likewise followed suit. I know no-one wants to see young children separted from their parents, but a very clear and tough message has to be sent to future illegal migrants that it is no longer worth their while to make the long and often treacherous journey to the USA.

    I know you probably vehemently disagree with me here, but I honestly believe that illegal economic migration is the key issue dividing the mainstream parties. If the Democats want to regain power, they will have to send a very tough message on migration in the hope of winning over disillusioned Democratic supporters who voted for Trump in the last election solely on this issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ivan Kinsman,

      I welcome a different point of view. I appreciate your presentation and explanation.

      But yes, I have to respectfully disagree.

      The number one reason has to do with the fact that most of the migrants are from Central America which is Catholic country. These are good hard working peoples who are fleeing violence that’s off the charts, that the USA contributed to making. They are refugees and it is supposed to be legal for them to seek asylum here in the USA.

      it was the CIA that overthrew the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954, and thereby subjected its people to decades of dictatorship and civil war. It was the streets and prisons of California that gave birth to MS-13, and American immigration authorities that deported that gang back to El Salvador. And it is America’s taste for narcotics that sustains the drug trade in Honduras. Our war on drugs ensures that such trade is conducted by immensely profitable and violent cartels.

      There is no easy answer to the Central American migrant crisis. But any remotely moral policy response will need to proceed from the recognition that we are not the victims of this crisis, and asylum-seekers (refugees) are not its creators.

      It is my opinion that the remedy is via the US Congress with immigration reform but the GOP in the US Congress have been failing to deliver on this.

      The crisis at the SW US border does not exist the way President Trump tells it.. Numbers of migrants have been lower than in the past.

      For me, It is very hard to make a reasoned case for why our nation’s current levels of undocumented immigration, who are mostly low-skilled immigration but hard working, represent a major threat to the safety and material well-being of Americans.

      There are ample studies demonstrating that native-born Americans commit violent crimes at far higher rates than either legal or undocumented immigrants. And newer research into immigration and criminality has proven even more devastating to the nativists’ case: States with higher concentrations of undocumented immigrants tend to have lower rates of violent crime. This correlation persists even when controlling for a given state’s median age, level of urbanization, and rate of unemployment or incarceration.

      As per the 6/23/18 Lawfare article by Stephanie Leutert, “while the current administration has tried to tie Central American migrants to MS-13, government data reveals that gang members crossing irregularly are the rare exceptions. Since the Trump administration took office, the Border Patrol has detected fewer gang members crossing irregularly than during the Obama administration. In FY2017, these detections amounted to 0.075 percent of the total number of migrants (228 MS-13 members out of 303,916 total migrants). When combined with MS-13’s rival, the Barrio 18 gang, the number rises only slightly to 0.095 percent. This is far from the “infestation” of violent gang members described by the president.”

      President has contrived a crisis to look strong and tough to his base as many are staunchly anti-immigration, whether legal or not, and I for one am not buying his hateful, cruel ways in dealing with this issue.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 4 people

      • OK Gronda but your last point is the most relevant. Procedures are in ace for legal immigration and these should be STRICTLY adhered to. There is no room for illegal economic immigration – which has also become a huge problem in Europe.

        I agree that many immigrants are harf-working. I used to watch the Mexican bus boys when I lived in the US and really admired their work ethic. However, I believe that citizens have to bring about reform in their own countries, particularly in terms of combatting corrupt politicians and officials.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Dear Ivan Kinsman,

          This is a point that many well intentioned folks are missing. As per US law and International law, it is legal for refugees to seek asylum in the USA from Central America. There were refugees who showed up to do this at legal points of entry who were subjected to having children forcibly removed from parents who were legally seeking asylum. Our US laws were disrespected. There’s a reason that President Trump stopped this practice after one month.

          We here in the USA are more at risk from right wing domestic terrorists than we are from jihadists and poor Central American refugees who are fleeing to save their lives. The objective stats show how violent the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are. What’s worse is that the USA, in large part, is at fault for creating the violence in these countries. We have a duty to fix this but we’re not lifting a finger.

          There is room for disagreement on how to handle this situation. But guess what happens to citizens who try to remedy the violence in these countries. They end up in the morgue, it they’re lucky.

          The president is responding to the problem that does exist in the worst, most ineffective way, possible. But, hey, he looks great to his base of voters who love simple, one line solutions that doesn’t exist under these set of circumstances.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Liked by 4 people

        • Well saying that the US is responsible for all this is stretching the facts. The same goes for the argument that European countries – because of their empires – have to feel guilt and grant citizenship to peoples from those who were colonised. This resulted in a mass influx from the 1960s and has led to creeping Islamisation in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium etc

          I don’t think the US has to accept any illegal economic migrants. Some asylum seekers – maybe on a strict case by case basis. Any monies allocated to non-USA migrants should be allocated to Native Americans who are treated as migrants in their own country.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dear Ivan Kinsman,

          I’m responding to your words:

          “I don’t think the US has to accept any illegal economic migrants. Some asylum seekers – maybe on a strict case by case basis. Any monies allocated to non-USA migrants should be allocated to Native Americans who are treated as migrants in their own country.”

          The point is that those who would normally be considered legitimate refugees seeking asylum where being deprived, delayed, gamed from exercising their rights. There was no crisis at the border. This was a trumped up reality show, produced and directed by our US president for political expediency.

          In addition we are not talking about old history here. The gang that the president keeps talking about MS-13 had its origination in Los Angeles. The gang members were rounded up, deported, and dropped where? You guessed it.

          One of the major reasons that republicans will lose this coming November has to do with how President Trump bungled this situation, as well as with Puerto Rico, tariffs, Russia etc.

          This does not mean that there isn’t a real immigration issue that needs to be confronted. Personally. the way that it’s addressed needs to be effective, make sense, etc. There is no easy fix.

          This is simply one issue where we have to agree to respectfully disagree which is okay. That’s the American way.

          PS. The US courts have disagreed with the president’s handling of the migrants seeking asylum at the US SW border, as well.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Gday Gronda, my personal belief is that the world peoples are ultimately to live together, in acceptance and compassion without borders, the status quo is old school and the future will show how tribal and petty are the persons who would lock themselves behind walls to protect their ideals, how quaint, how delusional a world view. Hugs mate.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a black eye for this country that ranks right up there with the incarceration of suspected terrorists after 9/11 in Cuba — where several hundred are still being held without benefit of trial.

    Liked by 3 people

    • However, the large majority were terrorists and quite rightly incarcerated. As to several hundred still being there, this is the information I have found:

      On 4 November 2015, President Barack Obama stated that he was preparing to unveil a plan to close the facility and move some of the terrorism suspects held there to U.S. soil. The plan would propose one or more prisons from a working list that includes facilities in Kansas, Colorado and South Carolina. Two others that were on the list, in California and Washington state, do not appear to have made the preliminary cut, according to a senior administration official familiar with the proposal.[26] By 19 January 2017, however, the detention center remained open, with 41 detainees remaining

      Liked by 2 people

      • There have been hundreds over the years. But the number is not the issue: it’s a matter of principle. This country should not lower itself to this level — not if we claim to be “great.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • Unfortunately I think that went as soon as the real estate from Queens stepped foot into the Oval office. Happier times should come again – the US is needed by Europe to counteract the influence of the China-Russia axis.

          Liked by 2 people

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