As the border crisis continues, alarms are being raised about the rapid expansion of Emergency Intake Facilities and the more permanent influx facilities.
Shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the number of encounters with unaccompanied minors along the southern border skyrocketed, seemingly overnight. In the federal fiscal year of 2021, the total number of encounters with unaccompanied children was almost 147,000, more than tripling the previous fiscal year’s totals. So far, according to the current fiscal year, October 2021 through April 2022 (the latest month we have data from), encounters with unaccompanied minors are nearing the 86,000 range. However, the latest DHS guidance to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is sure to cause another considerable surge in the numbers.
Barely three days after a Louisiana federal judge ordered that Title 42—a public health rule that authorizes federal officials to block border-crossers due to the possibility of spreading a communicable disease—remain in effect, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas & the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quickly skirt-tailed around the ruling.
Prior to the injunction, Mayorkas, DHS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other agencies were gearing up for unprecedented numbers to pour across our nation’s southern border following the anticipated lifting of Title 42. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) released plans to expand Emergency and Full-Service Influx Facilities in collaboration with local and national Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in 17 states with the anticipation of long-term use (potentially up to five years).
With the injunction upholding Title 42, over $8 billion of planned spending would be difficult to defend if the flow of illegal aliens is slowed. According to Breitbart, details of the guidance order CBP officers to accept “manifestations of fear” both verbally and nonverbally for family units, thereby allowing these groups to be processed under Title 8 claims. Sadly, this order further fuels the exploitation of children and continues to encourage the administration’s open-border policies.
Why is this concerning?
First, the quick re-opening and expansion of these influx facilities is a strong indicator of what the federal government is expecting to absorb. Thousands of illegal aliens are continually pouring over the sovereign Texas border, some of which are innocent children used as pawns in the never-ending cycle of a federally motivated humanitarian crisis. Second, the disturbing truth is influx facilities have an extensively documented history of abuse, neglect, and assault. There is absolutely nothing humanitarian about the atrocities happening in direct correlation with the current invasion of our southern border. Assuredly, the insurmountable growth of emergency soft-sided camps is an extension of these atrocities. Third, the construction of these facilities is what I would describe as an outright federal takeover of sovereign state land and resources.
Disturbing Documented History of Abuses
In my latest interview, the District Attorney for Midland County, Laura Nodolf, went into great detail about the federally constructed operation in Midland County. The facility in Midland was effectively authorized in an astoundingly short timeframe with very little regard to the standards for these facilities as set by Health and Human Services (HHS) and ORR. According to correspondence delivered to Midland County officials by the ORR Chief of Staff, on May 12, 2022, FEMA agreed to utilize a vacant man camp, which traditionally houses oil workers owned by Cotton Logistics. A few hours later, on May 13, ORR signed the contract solidifying the use of the base for housing unaccompanied children.
According to Nodolf, local county officials, including the county Sheriff, were denied access to the facility, despite the expectation of responsibility for county officials to address any reports of violence or abuse. When local officials inquired about the security of the property, the response was that DHS would secure the facility’s perimeter while volunteers were assigned for the internal observation of the minors. Nodolf and other officials have stressed concerns about inadequate background checks for the volunteers. The Midland County Sheriff’s department even went so far as to offer their services to run a more extensive review of the volunteers for the safety of the children. To the county officials’ dismay, the ORR facility quickly declined the assistance. After persistent alarms were raised, the Midland emergency facility was shut down due to safety concerns.
The unfortunate reality is that emergency influx facilities have had a long-documented history of similar insufficient safety reports along with other allegations ranging from physical and sexual abuse, runaways, negligence, and overall inability to meet the needs of an already vulnerable population. Since the Biden administration assumed office, two extensive influx facilities have remained operational in Ft. Bliss and Pecos, Texas. Both locations are riddled with substantial adverse claims. On August 8, 2021, a 31-page lawsuit was filed against the Biden administration, citing allegations of abuse, neglect, and mental and physical strains on the unaccompanied children living within the two facilities. Numerous temporary emergency facilities throughout Texas had similar recorded issues.
In Dallas, the operation within the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center faced reports of attempted runaways, lack of proper nutrition and supplies, along with overcrowded conditions cited by internal whistleblowers to the Dallas Observer. The Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio encountered similar allegations. Smaller NGO-backed long- and short-term influx facilities for unaccompanied minors, such as the Southwest Keys and Shiloh Treatment Centers, also have an extensive history of documentation, including severe inadequacies and atrocious allegations of abuse.
Suffice it to say there are many valid safety concerns regarding these facilities run by the federal government under the Biden administration’s agenda. With the lack of transparency and disregard for local officials, in conjunction with a complete dismissal of adhering to constitutional and legal responsibility, I feel it fitting to describe the expansion of these facilities as nothing short of a federal takeover of sovereign state land. These concerns are not all-encompassing as they do not include the impact on the local communities, resources, and the exponential costs to run such facilities. However, that is a conversation saved for a later date as the development of these facilities continues to arise throughout Texas.
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