A San Antonio, Texas, Air Force base is making the news after a report from the Department of Health and Human Services broadcast some alarming numbers. The South Texas Lackland Air Force Base, which is one of the five shelters in the region, is currently holding approximately 200 child immigrants younger than 18 in its temporary housing system, and the number is growing.
According to the report, 5,252 kids were detained by the U.S. Border Patrol without a parent or guardian within the past four months – nearly two times more children than those detained one year ago. In fact, last month alone, 1,390 children were placed in detention.
However, Jesus Garcia, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the San Antonio Express-News that the department is protecting the children and released the information to be more transparent.
Garcia says HHS looks after the children and sends the information to global health and human services organization BCFS to arrange the shelter operations. He added that 88 percent of the children detained are reunited with their families.
According to the source, Garcia said the HHS has strict laws regarding the identity of the children because they may be on the run. Some of these children are hoping to get citizenship for a number of reasons, including poverty or abuse, while some may just want to reunite with their parents.
“The children, some of them are victims of crimes,” Garcia said. “They escaped gangs. They were victims of human trafficking. So there is a risk that any image of them could become public, and these people that are looking for them could recognize them and know that they’re in our custody.”