Private businesses have been quietly receiving millions of dollars in government contracts to run the shelters where the children of migrants separated from their parents are being held away from their parents. Blame Trump’s zero tolerance child separation policies.
The whole process has been top secret. Media outlets and even elected representatives have been kept from having open access. But most glaring of all is that fact that few people know the identities of the businesses participating in the program.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), an arm of the Department of Health and Human Service, has about 100 shelters operating in 17 states. Ten contracts were awarded in the amount of $92 million. Specifics about the shelters are sketchy. Spokesman Kenneth Wolfe told reporters that a total of 11,786 children were being held as part of the “unaccompanied alien children program” which is designed to offer “unaccompanied” alien children entering the United States services like family reunification, classroom education, vocational training, mental health services and socialization/recreation. Few people know where the kids are being held.
There is some illogic to separating kids from their parents then paying millions of dollars to run a program designed to care for them while going through the process of “reuniting” them.
The program was originally designed to deal with truly unaccompanied children arriving in America on the run from violence and extreme poverty in Central America. But under Trump, toddlers who are not actually unaccompanied are being taken away from their parents by border patrol agents and brought to shelters. To facilitate this travesty,the ACF conveniently defines an “unaccompanied child” as “any minor referred by [Homeland Security]” for the unaccompanied alien child program.
The $92 million were awarded to five different vendors beginning in September 2017, including one in Florida.