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AOC slams Joe Biden’s administration for reopening Texas migrant facility for children

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the Biden administration Tuesday for reopening a temporary influx center for unaccompanied minors in Carrizo Springs, Texas and a shelter in Miami, Florida, where now-Vice President Kamala Harris protested outside of in June 2019.  

‘This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,’ the New York Democrat tweeted.  

The Washington Post reported Monday that the emergency facility was being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden administration for reopening a temporary migrant facility in Texas that will house kids who crossed the border by themselves

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden administration for reopening a temporary migrant facility in Texas that will house kids who crossed the border by themselves

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden administration for reopening a temporary migrant facility in Texas that will house kids who crossed the border by themselves  

AOC shared a Washington Post article reporting the opening, which government officials explained was a temporary fix for dealing with overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic

AOC shared a Washington Post article reporting the opening, which government officials explained was a temporary fix for dealing with overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic

AOC shared a Washington Post article reporting the opening, which government officials explained was a temporary fix for dealing with overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Carrizo Springs, Texas facility will hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17 to allow proper social distancing among the Health and Human Services accomodations for unaccompanied minors

The Carrizo Springs, Texas facility will hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17 to allow proper social distancing among the Health and Human Services accomodations for unaccompanied minors

The Carrizo Springs, Texas facility will hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17 to allow proper social distancing among the Health and Human Services accomodations for unaccompanied minors 

The government said it needed to expand its facilities because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Officials told The Post that their capacity had been cut in half because of the space needed to adhere to proper social distancing protocols. 

Additionally, in January, the number of unaccompanied children coming over the border was higher than 5,700, a high watermark in recent years. 

AOC’s voice joined a chorus of immigration lawyers and advocates who are questioning why the government would reopen controversial camps, which have been criticized for their conditions in the past. 

The Biden administration will also be reopening the Homestead shelter, which now Vice President Kamala Harris protested outside when the Democratic primary candidates were gathered in Miami for the first presidential debate in June 2019. 

Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs these facilities, told The Post that putting children in permanent facilities is preferred, but because of the pandemic some will have to stay in like influx shelters, like Carrizo and Homestead. 

He expects that Carrizo will close once the pandemic ends. 

He also explained that the facilities’ reputations were tarnished during the Trump years because people associated them with the cramped detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The Biden administration will also be reopening the Homestead shelter, which now Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured in 2019) protested outside when the Democratic primary candidates were gathered in Miami for the first presidential debate in June 2019

The Biden administration will also be reopening the Homestead shelter, which now Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured in 2019) protested outside when the Democratic primary candidates were gathered in Miami for the first presidential debate in June 2019

The Biden administration will also be reopening the Homestead shelter, which now Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured in 2019) protested outside when the Democratic primary candidates were gathered in Miami for the first presidential debate in June 2019

Harris is pictured alongside Sen Kirsten Gillibrand as they observed youths incarcerated at a dentition facility near Miami in Homestead, Florida, on June 28, 2019

Harris is pictured alongside Sen Kirsten Gillibrand as they observed youths incarcerated at a dentition facility near Miami in Homestead, Florida, on June 28, 2019

Harris is pictured alongside Sen Kirsten Gillibrand as they observed youths incarcerated at a dentition facility near Miami in Homestead, Florida, on June 28, 2019 

The Homestead Branch held around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17, who were placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services after being detained at the border

The Homestead Branch held around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17, who were placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services after being detained at the border

The Homestead Branch held around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17, who were placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services after being detained at the border

Weber also argued that children in HHS’ care were treated well in both the Trump and Biden administrations.

However, he also explained that the Biden administration is moving away from the ‘law-enforcement focused’ approach of Trump, and will make child welfare central.

AOC, who shared the Washington Post story on her Twitter feed, still objected to the Democratic administration’s move. 

‘Our immigration system is built on a carceral framework. It’s no accident that challenging how we approach both these issues are considered “controversial” stances. They require reimagining our relationship to each other and challenging common assumptions we take for granted,’ the New York progressive said. 

‘It’s only [two months] into this [administration and] our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time,’ she continued. ‘That’s why bold reimagination is so [important.] DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.’ 

Biden has made some moves on immigration, including releasing a plan that includes a pathway to citizenship. 

He also signed an executive order ordering the Department of Justice to not renew for-profit prison contracts. 

He hasn’t, yet, made a similar move in regards to immigration facilities.  

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