Trump Admin Sends 1,600 Kids to Texas Tent City as Number of Detained Children Hits Record High

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The Trump administration is transferring detained migrant children from shelters across the country to a barren tent city in West Texas. The New York Times reports that hundreds of children are being sent each week from shelters to the tent city, which currently houses 1,600 children. The facility reportedly has no school, and children have only limited access to legal services. The U.S. government is now detaining a record 13,000 migrant children. We speak with Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the ACLU, who says, “We have more children in detention now than ever before.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to switch to another gear in the last minute we have with you, and that is the ACLU’s involvement with the migrant children issue, The New York Times reporting the Trump administration has begun transferring detained migrant children from shelters across the country to a barren tent city in West Texas. The Times reports hundreds of children are being sent each week from shelters to the tent city, which currently houses 1,600 children. The facility reportedly has no school. Children have limited access to legal services. The U.S. government is now detaining a record 13,000 migrant children. Your thoughts on this latest news and what it means for these kids? We’re talking about almost 2,000 children, if the government is even telling us the truth on that number.

LOUISE MELLING: I’m so glad you raised it, because I think it’s incredibly important that this story break through, even in the midst of the incredibly important hearings about the Supreme Court. As you’ve indicated, this is just a horrific story. We have more children in detention now than ever before. We have children being bussed in the middle of the night. We have children without school. This is all being done with our tax dollars, right? This is another reason to be reaching out to your members of Congress, to be asking—urging them to stand up, including to withhold and withdraw money from DHS.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, then you have the convergence of that issue with Kavanaugh, when Judge Kavanaugh, as a federal court judge now, actively got involved with the case of a migrant minor—she was 17 years old, this is the Garza case—

LOUISE MELLING: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —and tried to prevent her from getting an abortion. That decision was overruled, and this young woman, Jane Doe, got the abortion. But it was Judge Kavanaugh now who intervened in that.

LOUISE MELLING: Judge Kavanaugh issued a decision, yes, that was going to—in the face of ban on Jane Doe’s access to an abortion, that was going to give the government time, shall we say, to continue to look for a sponsor, time that really meant further delay, time that didn’t respect the fact that the government’s obligation is not to bar any of us from having access to abortion.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Louise Melling, we want to thank you for being with us, deputy legal director at the ACLU. Again, in a rare move, the group has decided to oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and is now running an ad campaign in key states to target senators on their position on Judge Kavanaugh.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, a new NAFTA? We’ll talk with Lori Wallach. What does it mean? Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: That music by the visionary Latin jazz musician Jerry González. He died on Monday at the age of 69.

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