(Washington) On Tuesday, the US authorities announced the opening of a new reception building at a military base to counter the unprecedented flow of thousands of children who crossed the border with Mexico alone and illegally.
The Health Department said in a statement that this emergency entry site installed in Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas, was scheduled to receive 500 unaccompanied minors starting Tuesday.
The ministry added that it would eventually accommodate 5,000 children between the ages of 13 and 17, who would “undergo a brief medical examination and receive clothes, hygiene supplies and food, as well as a safe place to rest.” Monitoring Protocol Against COVID-19 “.
The United States is facing a sharp increase in the number of arrivals at the border of Central American migrants fleeing poverty and violence, with nearly 500 unaccompanied minors arrested daily since the end of February, according to figures released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security.
Sanitary rules enacted at the start of the pandemic allow the United States to immediately deport all adults and families.
But US authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to bring families back to Mexico, especially when they have young children (under the age of seven).
Minors who arrive alone are placed in border police buildings, usually for a period of less than three days, before they are transferred to more appropriate reception structures, while they wait for their family members or their custodians to be located.
About 13,800 children are currently housed in these buildings, and fewer than 300 children find their loved ones every day, according to the Ministry of Health.
The US administration, which put this influx of asylum seekers into perspective, for the first time Tuesday allowed the press to visit an overcrowded detention center in Donna, Texas, to ensure immigrants are received in good conditions.
The building, run by border police, holds more than 4,000 children and families in rooms separated by glass walls, where migrants sleep on a mattress on the floor, in giant tents.
The site has indoor play areas for children and outdoor sports fields.