Border Patrol Faces Overwhelming Number of Immigrant Children
In a stark, concrete room at the Fort Brown Border Patrol Station in Brownsville, Tex., dozens of young girls sleep, crowded shoulder-to-shoulder, under American Red Cross blankets. Small milk cartons are scattered along the edge of the room. One girl, who looks to be in her early teens, holds a very young child on her lap.
These girls are among about 500 immigrants detained here – double the capacity of the station. Some are among the more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended at the southernmost border of the U.S. this year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The agency estimates that number will grow to 90,000 by the end of September.
In the next room, a group of young boys stood near an inside-facing window. One smiled and waved and another, his face pressed against the window, had tears in his eyes.
While adults are held here also, the station at Fort Brown has become one of the CBP’s central facilities for unaccompanied minors. Some of the children will be transferred to other facilities by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services but, when asked about the timing of such a move, a DHS official on site said these children are not being relocated fast enough.