To fill the newly expanded migrant camp in Texas, the Department of Health and Human Services has reportedly rounded up about 1,600 children in the middle of the night and sent them west.
The children, separated from their families either before or after the U.S.-Mexico border, have been moved from shelters across the country to a camp at the Tornillo-Guadalupe Land Port of Entry, according to the New York Times, where they have no formal schooling and limited access to legal services for their immigration cases.
Some of the kids are given just a few hours to pack up their belongings before being put on a bus for transport.
The Tornillo camp was opened in mid-June for children and teenagers, originally as a temporary holding place that was only supposed to exist for a month. The current plan is to keep the facility open through at least 2018.
The Department of Health and Human Services also recently added 2,600 more beds at the camp, increasing its capacity from 1,200 to 3,800.
“Obviously we have concerns about kids falling through the cracks, not getting sufficient attention if they need attention, not getting the emotional or mental health care that they need,” Leah Chavla, a lawyer with the advocacy group Women’s Refugee Commission, told The Times.
“This cannot be the right solution. We need to focus on making sure that kids can get placed with sponsors and get out of custody.”