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Migrant Children Describe Tent City As ‘Punishment,’ Experts Say

Leah Chavla, a human rights lawyer at the Women’s Refugee Commission who recently returned from touring the tent city, thinks kids will spend longer periods in this facility as the government continues to target the sponsors. “It’s a vicious cycle,” she said. “It’s something to be concerned about.” 

She points out that since the tent city is considered an emergency facility, it’s not held to the same child welfare standards as the government-run shelters and groups homes for migrant children.

Chavla says kids don’t go to school at the Tornillo facility and have less access to legal and mental health services than they would have in regular shelters. “At regular facilities, there are more check-ins with personnel. At big institutions [like this], kids fall through the cracks, because there’s not enough time or capacity to see all those kids on a regular basis.”