A tour of an immigration detention center has been scheduled for members of Congress on July 8. The tour has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, and will be in response to a continually growing concern regarding the recent surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Central America into the U.S.
The tour itself will be of a temporary facility that has been erected at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, one of several holding facilities across the Southwestern states in which children and other immigrants are being kept until they can be given proper deportation proceedings. The sheer number of people within these facilities has caused a great deal of speculation as to whether authorities are doing enough to provide proper living conditions. Since October 2013, more than 50,000 unaccompanied child immigrants have been detained after crossing into America.
Indeed, the worry regarding the conditions being provided in the detainment centers was furthered recently when Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., was refused access to a facility at Fort Sill, one of three such facilities in which children are being held. After being told that the earliest he would be granted entrance would be nearly three weeks later on July 21, he expressed his concern as to what might be happening to motivate such a long waiting period.
“Any member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks,” Bridenstine told Fox News. “What are they trying to hide? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.”
The tour scheduled for Tuesday comes just slightly before President Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress for roughly $2 billion to move forward with his plans to resolve the border-crossing crisis.