Democrats call for closing of Tornillo prison camp: 'It is a child prison. It has no right to exist'
Top congressional Democrats visited Tornillo, Texas, this past weekend to call for the end of the Trump administration’s prison camp for migrant children. Tornillo initially held 400 children; it has now soared to more than 2,700 children. “We need to shut Tornillo down,” said Rep. Judy Chu of California. “It is inhumane. It is a child prison. It has no right to exist.”
In addition to massively bloating in size, officials had also claimed this past summer that Tornillo was going to be temporary (not that it matters—this desert gulag shouldn’t exist for even one day), but it was extended numerous times. Tornillo’s contract with the company running Tornillo is set to end at the end of the year, and lawmakers are calling on BCFS to not renew it. The reason that probably won’t happen is money, pure and simple.
”The United States has spent more than $144 million to operate the shelter since it opened in June,” El Paso Times reported, and one of the visiting Democrats, Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, said that’s only half of what has been designated to fund this prison camp. “This is a great deal for the contractor, a terrible deal for the kids who are trapped inside and an awful deal for the U.S. taxpayer,” he said.
Trapped inside intentionally, that is. These children, all of whom are minors who journeyed to the U.S. by themselves, could be released to sponsors already here, including relatives. Could be, but immigration officials have instead been arresting them.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested 170 immigrants, CNN reported earlier this month, who have stepped forward to potentially sponsor these kids, despite nearly 110 of them having no criminal record at all. What this has has led to is more children being jailed at Tornillo, for longer periods of time, and at greater risk of lasting trauma.