Texas residents blasted the Biden administration for placing about 500 migrant children in a camp in their backyard — outrage that comes as the White House plans to open more detention facilities in the Lone Star State, according to reports.
Shon Crabtree of Midland said the Biden administration converted a camp built in 2012 for oil workers and has now relocated hundreds of young migrants ranging in age from 12 to 17.
Crabtree said the migrants are being held in conditions in Midland that are a far cry from the crowded detention centers depicted in photos recently released by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and US Customs and Border Protection that show the kids sleeping on floor mats in rooms separated by sheets of plastic.
“They have doctors, chefs, three square meals a day, they play soccer all day. They are living better than us. I see them in new clothing, they line up for their meals three times a day, and then play and watch TV,” Crabtree told the Daily Mail about the facility that is just feet from his home.
Crabtree said he and his neighbors are worried about being infected with the coronavirus by the migrants youths because 10 percent of the people at the camp have tested positive for COVID and at least one child has been hospitalized.
“These kids interact with the federal officers who then interact with us. We are being put in danger,” he said.
They also fear for their safety if there’s an escape.
“I’m worried about some of them escaping and coming to my house and holding my family hostage until they get what they want or taking a vehicle. We are scared,” Crabtee said, noting that workers are installing a 10-foot chain-link fence around the facility.
He said his wife works from home and “keeps the blinds in the front windows shut all day long.”
A neighbor said the government is paying “millions” to Cotton Logistics, the camp’s owner, to house the children.
“Most of the people around here aren’t too happy with what’s going on. They think it’s President Biden’s way of saying ’F— you’ to the people of Texas for voting for [former President Donald] Trump,” the neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told the Daily Mail.
“Those kids are living luxury. I’m sure where they are living now is 100 times better than where they have ever lived in before,” the neighbor said.
Their anger with the administration comes as the White House struggles to handle the surge of unaccompanied children that are showing up at the southern border after the president rolled back many of Trump’s immigrations policies.
The Department of Health and Human Services said it was planning on opening a second detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that could house 500 children and has asked the Pentagon to temporarily place children at two military installations in the state, The Hill reported on Tuesday.
A HHS official told the outlet that the center will open when it “is ready to safely receive children” and will serve as a second site “where children receive educational, medical, mental health, and recreational services until they can be unified with families or sponsors without undue delay.”
The Biden White House reopened a Trump-era facility in Carrizo in February and said it would be used to house children temporarily because of social distancing precautions.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the Defense Department had been contacted by HHS officials about using a vacant dorm at Joint Base San Antonio in Lackland, Texas, and space at Fort Bliss, near El Paso.
“We have just received this request so I don’t have much more detail than that. We’ll analyze it and evaluate it just like we would any other request for assistance,” he said, The Hill reported.
With Post wires