Since June 2018, The Department of Health and Human Services and a private contractor called BCFS have operated a massive tent city on the edge of Tornillo, a little town on the Texas-Mexico border. Officially, it’s a migrant youth shelter for unaccompanied minors ages 13-17 who made unauthorized crossings into the U.S. Unofficially, it’s a prison for kids.
But whatever you call it, its operations have been highly secretive.
The federal government has released so little information about what goes on inside Tornillo that the best insight into the camp is a guy who has been standing watching outside its gates.
Josh Rubin is that guy. The 66-year-old New Yorker moved to Texas to protest and publicize what was happening at Tornillo. After spending three months there, Josh is going home.
In late December, weeks after it was revealed that BCFS had been neglecting to run required fingerprint checks on workers, HHS announced that it would not be renewing the Tornillo contract, And now is starting the camp down. VICE News has learned that Tornillo is housing just 850 children down from over 2800 it held at its height.
According to Josh, “There’s a reason for being out here in the middle of nowhere. They don’t want us to see. They didn’t want us to see what we saw. And now they’re closing it down.”
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