埃尔帕索避难所争先恐后地为进入美国的移民儿童腾出空间

移民, 主要是无人陪伴的儿童或家庭团体, now being flown by government to El Paso amid shortage of facilities

Shelter organizers in the west 德克萨斯州 border city of El Paso are scrambling to open up capacity for children crossing alone into the US from Mexico, as a surge of unaccompanied minors has been met with a shortage of facilities in the ongoing pandemic.

移民, 主要是无人陪伴的儿童或家庭团体, are now being flown by the federal government from the Rio Grande Valley in south-east Texas to El Paso in an attempt to deal with a situation.

The Biden administration has refused to call it a crisis but on Saturday prompted the involvement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). 接手四个月后, the House speaker, 南希佩洛西, referred to a “humanitarian challenge”.

As of early Monday, neither city of El Paso authorities nor Annunciation House, the non-profit at the forefront of migrant care in the area, had been notified of any sort of federal aid heading towards west Texas, 然而.

Annunciation House announced during the last week of February that they would be taking in adult 25 migrants a week from Juarez, El Paso’s sister city directly across the border in Mexico.

The migrants were part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy (MPP), 其中有 been rescinded by the Biden administration.

Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House said they were now seeing as many as 60-70 migrants a day being released from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), the federal agencies.

“If you asked me three to four months ago, the numbers would have been 15 [migrants] per week that we were seeing,“ 他说.

In less than a week, the numbers jumped dramatically, as Annunciation House confirmed it would be taking in hundreds of migrants a day from the now-rescinded Remain in Mexico program.

The Biden administration confirmed to a local news outlet, which was later confirmed by CBP, that two flights a day would be coming into El Paso, each with 135 migrants.

The flights are coming in from the Rio Grande Valley, an area seeing its own surge, but because of Covid-19 protocols, officials are hoping to spread the burden of dealing with the influx across the state.

“Annunciation House is preparing to receive more refugees this week than we’d expected,” the non-profit 发布到推特, calling out for volunteers.

然而, the non-profit only takes in single adults and family units. Migrant children cannot be released from federal custody without an adult sponsor, leaving thousands of children in federal custody longer than recommended.

Latest data revealed that more than 4,200 unaccompanied migrant children were now in US custody, but only 500 beds were available, the Associated Press said, 更多 reporting that hundreds were packed into tents, some sleeping on the floor and waiting five days for a shower.

接手四个月后, El Paso’s congresswoman, Veronica Escobar, admitted the situation 曾是 unacceptable, blaming harsh, failed policies under Donald Trump.

同时, an extra facility in west El Paso is looking to address part of the problem. What was once the SunRidge at Desert Springs Alzheimer’s care center is reportedly being hastily converted into a shelter for unaccompanied children.

Confirmation was difficult, but a construction worker handed a card to an ABC-7 reporter which read: “For the safety and privacy of the children being served, media requests and other public inquiries regarding this operation should be submitted to: US Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families.”

Unaccompanied children crossing the border are supposed to be released in short order to an adult sponsor in the US, while their immigration cases are assessed.

But a Trump-era policy checked sponsors who were coming forward to take in minors, and everyone in their household, and allowed their arrest if they were undocumented, which deterred many from coming forward and put a chill on the system, leaving kids stuck in detention.

Joe Biden agreed to end that policy last Friday.

Dylan Corbett, the founding director of Hope Border Institute in El Paso and Juarez, a Catholic grassroots advocacy group, explained why more migrant children are crossing the border alone.

“这 大流行病, plus the 气候危机, 这 hurricanes, you’ve already seen the rise in unaccompanied minors coming to the border,” Corbett explained.

“The other thing the pandemic has done is put a real strain on the governments and the budgets in these countries, like Guatemala, in the midst of a pandemic where there’s a lot of unemployment, the legislature voted to have nutrition cuts.”

In Texas, 同时, the finger-pointing has begun as the state’s Republican governor is now blaming Biden for the new surge.

“The Biden administration is recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have Covid into Texas communities,” Greg Abbott tweeted wildly.

Garcia said in a late February press conference that all migrants would have to be tested for Covid-19 in Mexico and have negative test results before entering El Paso. Those tests are being administered by the Mexican government.

Annunciation House confirmed that nine migrants have tested positive since arriving in El Paso from the Rio Grande Valley in the latest influx and it has a separate network of locations for quarantining.

US Border Patrol is testing migrants who show symptoms of coronavirus.

Abbott visited the border last Tuesday, also claiming that the Biden administration was not providing vaccines to border patrol agents who “risk their lives every day”.

Roger Maier, CBP spokesman for El Paso, 说: “CBP employees are currently receiving vaccines from a variety of sources including federal providers like the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs].”

Last Friday the Department of Homeland Security announced a mass vaccination clinic specifically for border patrol agents.

同时, Texas Democrats insist that Abbott has been refusing federal funding.

“Gov. Abbott’s fear mongering about asylum-seekers and Covid-19 ring hollow when he is the one standing in the way of federal resources that will keep everyone safe,” Escobar tweeted.

She and fellow Democrats wrote to Abbott urging him to accept Fema help for testing and quarantining migrants in El Paso.

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