The Trump administration, which has forcibly separated 2,300 children from their parents (and only reunited about 500) is close to maxing out the capacity of the nation’s three family detention centers, but that hasn’t shaken its resolve to detain a truly staggering number of families.
Citing numbers from ICE, Reuters reported that the three family detention centers house an estimated 3,300 people and reached 79 percent capacity as of June 21. Politico reports that the Department of Homeland Security has requested the Department of Defense set up 12,000 beds at military bases, with 2,000 of those beds set up within 45 days.
The facility will be housed at a military base, but it’s not clear yet which one. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday that two bases had been identified to house migrants: Goodfellow Air Force Base near San Angelo, Texas, and Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, which comprises more than 1 million acres in Texas and New Mexico.
In its statement, the Defense Department said if facilities are not available, it has been asked to identify available land and construct semi-separate, soft-sided camp facilities capable of sheltering up to 4,000 people at three separate locations.
The facilities are required to meet standards set by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that are in accordance with the 1997 Flores settlement, which includes access to medical and dental care, private showers, air conditioning, and more, and requires children be released “without unnecessary delay.”
However, reporters who have visited the detention centers have described them as “horrific” and “inhumane.” Camille Mackler, director of Immigration Legal Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition told Jezebel, “Literally, families would be in prisons.”