Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego says a federal contractor has terminated its lease at a city office building where migrant children were being held.
Gallego said at a news conference Thursday that an investigation revealed migrant children were being illegally housed in the unlicensed facility after being separated from their parents at the Arizona-Mexico border.
Gallego says MVM Inc. admitted to the Center for Investigative Reporting that children had stayed at the Phoenix facility overnight, a violation under city code.
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Neighbors near the facility reported seeing vans bringing children to the facility, which spurred the investigation.
Shelters Where Immigrant Children Are Housed
After the Trump administration began separating migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, questions arose about the shelters where the children were being kept.
This map shows the location of 87 child-care facilities housing children seized from their parents and other children who crossed the border without an adult or unaccompanied immigrant minors. Foster-care agencies are not included.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement has custody of about 12,000 children in all, about 2,000 of them taken under President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. In June, Trump signed an executive order reversing the policy of separating families, and his administration is now under court order to reunite them.
About half of children under 5 have been returned to their parents under court order, as of July 12. But the others remain separated for a variety of reasons, among them because their parents have been deported or the administration has raised safety concerns.
Older children must be reunited with their parents by July 26.
The resettlement agency has paid companies in 18 states $3.4 billion since 2014 to house the children, with grants awarded under the “Unaccompanied Alien Children Program.” The funding information comes from the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ “Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System,” according to The Associated Press.
The data for the map was obtained by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and has been updated in Texas by The Texas Tribune with information from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Reveal received the information through a freedom of information request for information on all facilities that housed children under the supervision of the Office of Refugee Resettlement as of June 2017. It modified its original list with additional federal data.
The map shows the capacity number of children that each facility was contracted to house as of June 2017. Shelters can receive variances to increase their capacity.