The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is defending its plan to house unaccompanied migrant children in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Post reports DHHS says unaccompanied minors were apprehended alone, unlike migrant children separated from their families. It says its wards have beds and access to meals, legal services, games and classes.
It says it awarded Dynamic Service Solutions a $20.5 million contract this month to operate a 200-bed District facility for kids ages 12 to 17. It would be located in D.C.'s Ward 4.
The Maryland-based contractor has applied for a permit to open the shelter and posted jobs for people to work with "unaccompanied alien" children there.
City officials have denounced the shelter, and Councilwoman Brianne K. Nadeau may propose emergency legislation to limit the number of youths allowed at shelters.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the city will not accept such a shelter.
"Washington, D.C. will not be complicit in the inhumane practice of detaining migrant children in warehouses," Bowser said in an emailed statement.
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"We have no intention of accepting a new federal facility, least of all one that detains and dehumanizes migrant children," Bowser said.
Ward 4 Council Member Brandon Todd represents the Takoma neighborhood, a possible site for the shelter. "I will do everything in my power to fight against this inhumanity," he said.
Some detention centers have been criticized for subpar sanitation and care.