President Joe Biden made the decision in late February to reopen a detention facility. The facility is located in Carrizo Springs, Texas, and will house about 700 migrant children.
This facility hasn’t been used since the end of summer 2019 and was previously shut down by former President Trump’s administration after receiving heavy backlash from immigration activists. Biden told NPR he hopes that the center “won’t stay open for very long."
Biden pledged during his campaign to end former Trump’s policies and bring back “Obama-era” immigration. The center is needed because opened facilities for migrant children are overflowing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reopening of another detention facility located in Florida is being considered. It is understandable that more detention centers are needed, but the question remains: Why is it taking so long for these kids to be reunited with their families?
Many people believe this decision is a step backward for Biden’s administration and immigration reform. They believe it isn’t beneficial and is reactive rather than proactive.
Cass Tech senior Zahria Liggans said, “To reopen it, after a campaign promising immigration reform and ice reform and police reform, to reopen a facility that was detrimental to so many people and so many families. To me, it’s a step backwards because what are you doing differently?”
Generally, people have accepted that COVID-19 has most likely negatively impacted the living conditions of the immigration detention facilities. The COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc on everyday citizens' livelihoods, and the lack of information is concerning.
Liggans said: “I think it’s more deadly than we are making it seem because if the detention facilities were overflowing as much as the Biden administration claims they were, that means there’s no social distancing. That means there’s no room for them to be spread out.”
Despite the heavy causes for concern, many are hopeful that Biden’s immigration policies will be better than Trump’s. However, some remain concerned about the reopening of the detention centers and the length of time that children are spending within detention centers.
Cass Tech business teacher Yolanda Gordon said, “We saw in the beginning of the Trump era that he was taking the kids, sending the parents back, and then just sending the kids all over the country, and there was no way to figure out where these kids were when their parents were trying to I guess claim the kids. So, I’m hoping that that’s something we don’t see with the Biden era.”