The closing of the shelters set up to house undocumented immigrant minors at Lackland Air Force Base and a number of other locations shows how the dynamics of the months-long border crisis are changing, according to officials. Representative Henry Cuellar told News Radio 1200 WOAI that there has been a significant slowing in the amount of unaccompanied youngsters entering the United States and that those already here have been sent to private facilities.
“This is a little less expensive than the $500 a day we spend on the children in the Department of Defense facilities,” Cuellar points out. The cost for the new shelter housing mothers and children that opened near Karnes City last week is around $140 per day for each resident. “Let’s save those taxpayers money while at the same time we take care of the kids in a proper way,” Cuellar added.
The question now seems to be what should be done with regard to the unaccompanied minors who have come to the United States. Around 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant youngsters have crossed the US border so far this year, with many inspired to risk the journey as the result of false promises made to their loved ones by cartels. An additional 32,000 minors have arrived with at least one parent.
The president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, Judge Dana Leigh Marks, says that many of these minors are arriving in the United States to live with relatives ‒ a fact that shows the system is being affected by the deeper issue of reuniting families.