Friends of Refugees

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Archive for the ‘asylees’ Category

Financial dealings merky between feds and private prison companies detaining Central American asylum seekers

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 22, 2016

 

prison

The number of undocumented people in this country is currently dropping and has dropped for the last few years, yet you wouldn’t know that from the rhetoric spewing from the political right.  Much of the general public’s understanding of unauthorized immigration is also clouded in unknowns. The financial dealings between the federal government and private prison companies with contracts to detain unauthorized immigrants are an aspect of immigration that doesn’t see much scrutiny. As numbers of unauthorized immigrants surged in 2014, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a $1 billion a year deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest prison company.  Under the deal, CCA was responsible for building and maintaining a large immigrant detention facility for women and children in South Texas; in an unusual arrangement, CCA is guaranteed payment for being at capacity regardless of how full the facility actually is. (For a comparison of spending, however, know that Americans’ annual spending on other things — 2012 figures — includes: Perfume: $4.2 billion, Coffee: $11 billion, Romance Novels: $10 billion, Tattoos: $2.3 billion, Golf balls & Twinkies: Approximately $500 million each.)  An article at ProPublica explains:

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would phase out its use of private prisons. While significant, the move will not put an end to the booming immigrant detention industry…

Even though private prison companies play a central role in the government’s immigration strategy, the financial dealings between the two are often opaque. In his piece for the Washington Post, reporter Chico Harlan sheds light on one of these secretive arrangements, detailing a $1 billion deal between the Obama Administration and Corrections Corporation of America, also known as CCA, the largest private prison company in the country.

Under the deal, CCA was responsible for building and maintaining a large immigrant detention facility for women and children in South Texas; in an unusual arrangement, CCA is guaranteed payment for being at capacity regardless of how full the facility actually is….

The public debate around immigration contrasts with what is actually happening on the ground.

Harlan: I think immigration is an irresistible subject, even though I’m somewhat new to it. As you look into it, I don’t think there’s anything in America that is more discussed, that brings out more opinion, but where the gulf between what’s actually happening and what people believe is happening is different. Just the most glaring example is the fact that the number of undocumented people in this country is dropping and has been dropping for the last few years. This is after decades of increase. You would never think that based on the rhetoric. Read more here

The original article is found in the Washington Post.

…[Central American] asylum seekers, until two years ago, had rarely been held in detention. They instead settled in whatever town they chose, told to eventually appear in court. The Obama administration’s decision to transform that policy — pushed by lawmakers assailing the porous state of the nation’s border — shows how the frenzy of America’s immigration politics can also bolster a private sector that benefits from a get-tough stance.

Before Dilley, CCA’s revenue and profit had been flat for five years. The United States’ population of undocumented immigrants had begun to fall, reversing a decades-long trend, and the White House was looking to show greater leniency toward illegal immigrants already in the country. But under pressure to demonstrate that it still took border issues seriously, the administration took a tougher stance toward newly arriving Central Americans…

For the first years of the Obama administration, the United States maintained fewer than 100 beds for family detention. But by the end of 2014, the administration had plans for more than 3,000 beds, and immigration advocates said the ramp-up had broken with America’s tradition of welcoming those seeking a haven from violence…

…[Yet] CCA had pitched Washington on the idea that it could be an antidote to big government spending…

In forging [the] deal, CCA and ICE faced one major hurdle: the requirement for a public bidding process — one that threatened to significantly delay construction [for a new facility]. So CCA found a workaround…

Mark Fleming, an attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, who has reviewed hundreds of federal ICE contracts, said the deal was “singularly unique” and was designed to “avoid transparency”…

Several other experts on federal procurement said that while the government can avoid bidding laws in urgent or national security cases, they had never before seen a facility in one state created with the help of a recycled contract from another.

“This is the arrangement of a no-bid contract by twisting and distorting the procurement process past recognition,” said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law school professor, former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House of Representatives…

Critics say ICE could have chosen much more cost-effective alternatives. Ankle monitors, which could track asylum seekers as they await court dates, for example, cost several dollars per day…

Border-crossing among asylum-seeking women and children has changed little from two years ago. Over the previous 12 months, according to government statistics, 66,000 “family units” — mostly women and children — have been apprehended at the border, compared with 61,000 in the same period two years earlier.

“What is the root problem? I don’t believe it’s a pull factor so much as a push,” said John Sandweg, a former acting ICE director who left in early 2014, months before the immigration surge. “I do not believe that family detention has been a deterrent”… Read more here

Posted in asylees, funding, ICE, Obama administration, right-wing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Customs and Border Protection maintaining poor conditions at some facilities

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 20, 2016

 

detention

People crowded in “ice boxes”

Unauthorized immigrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border can spend hours or days in crowded holding facilities without beds, which many migrants call “hieleras” or “ice boxes” because of the temperature.   These are small concrete rooms with concrete benches. Customs and Border Protection facilities are meant to hold people for short periods before they are transferred elsewhere, usually to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or, in the case of unaccompanied minors, to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The images are similar to alarming photos of children and adults in cramped facilities after being apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014, at the height of a surge in unaccompanied minors and families coming to the country without authorization. The number of border apprehensions went down in the 2015 fiscal year, but increased in the 2016 fiscal year ― although they are still lower than 2014.  An article at the Huffington Post has the details:

Unauthorized immigrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border can spend hours or days in crowded holding facilities without beds, where they huddle for warmth and at times there isn’t enough room for everyone to lie down.

Those conditions are revealed in photos released Thursday as part of a lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection, brought by multiple stakeholders.

The suit alleges that the agency maintains unconstitutionally poor conditions at some of its facilities, which are meant for short-term detention but at times hold people for multiple days. The images from surveillance footage were turned over to lawyers and have now been made public by a judge.

They show that adults and children endure “deplorable conditions” in the holding rooms, which many migrants call “hieleras” or “ice boxes” because of the temperature, said attorney Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit…

…a forensic sanitarian…wrote that in his opinion “the unclean, unhygienic, and unduly cold conditions in which people are held at these stations serves no legitimate purpose and creates an unjustifiable risk of harm to detainees”…

…[the] deputy director of research at American Immigration Council…said… “They are typically small concrete rooms with concrete benches and no beds… Read more here

Posted in abuse, asylees, ICE, ORR, U.S. Customs & Border Protection | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ORR both detains unaccompanied minors and decides when they get out

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 12, 2016

detention

More than 200,000 migrant kids traveling without their parents have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border over the past five years as part of a wave of Central American children fleeing violence. When unaccompanied children are picked up at the border they are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The majority of those kids spend about a month in a licensed ORR-funded shelter, and then they’re placed with a relative or another sponsor while they await their day in immigration court. But a small fraction — roughly 500 to 700 in any given year — are placed in detention facilities… Those kids are held for two to three months, on average, but some are detained longer. While most advocates believe the ORR is a better custodian than in the old days, before 2002, when detained migrant children were held by immigration agents, they say the process itself is completely opaque. Many times there’s no written decision at all or a great delay before the decisions are actually released. Plus, there’s no opportunity for the juvenile or the proposed custodian to check the evidence that the federal government is relying on to keep the juvenile in custody. The ORR has detained one teenage for 21 months and moved him around the country to different facilities eight times in 18 months. An article at KQED News has the story:

…200,000 migrant kids traveling without their parents who have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border over the past five years. …a wave of Central American children fleeing violence, as criminal gangs in El Salvador and neighboring countries have come to wield terrifying power with impunity, and weak governments struggle to respond. That violence is a legacy of the civil wars of the 1980s, subsequent migrations to the United States and the deportation of gang members back to their home countries in the 1990s.

When adults are picked up at the border, they are dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security. But unaccompanied children are turned over to a different agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As the number of migrant kids has multiplied, ORR’s job has grown. In 2011, the agency took custody of 7,000 children. In 2014 it was 57,000.

The vast majority of those kids spend about a month in a licensed ORR-funded shelter, and then they’re placed with a relative or another sponsor while they await their day in immigration court. But a small fraction — roughly 500 to 700 in any given year — are placed in jail-like settings: locked group homes or juvenile detention facilities… Those kids are held for two to three months, on average, but, like Pablo, some are detained much longer. Advocates say they become practically invisible.

Lawyers for immigrant children say kids in ORR detention don’t have the legal protections they should. Many may be eligible for asylum or some other kind of protection. But half of them don’t even have a lawyer. And prolonged detention can be psychologically damaging, according to child advocates…

ORR doesn’t recognize courts as a place where children can challenge their detention. The upshot is that kids…who have not been charged with a crime, can be jailed indefinitely.

“Without any judicial or third-party oversight, ORR is both the jailer and the person who decides whether the kid is getting out,” said [a legal advocate]. “That’s a really dangerous power dynamic that is developing.” …Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, court, Guatemalan, Honduran, mental health, Salvadoran, teenagers, teens, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christian Syrian asylee family finds hostile welcome

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 17, 2015

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It turns out that the Syrian refugees who arrived in taxis at the Mexican border last month, and which right-wing political candidates and media outlets described as infiltrators, are a Christian Syrian family fleeing violence in Syria. The family presented themselves at the US-Mexican border to US Customs and Border Protection, which right-wing Breitbart News reported as being “caught”. Donald trump speculated that the family were members of the Islamic State. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that the husband and wife and two sons – aged two and five – could be the embodiment of America’s “worst nightmare”. They now find themselves indefinitely detained in Texas in separate detention centers, with no explanation given, and despite a July ruling by a federal judge in California who ordered that mothers with children should be released quickly from detention facilities. Texas is now considering licensing the facilities as “childcare centers”.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claims the family has failed to establish they are “not a danger to the community or US security”. An article in The Guardian has more:

Throughout the seven months it took Samer and his family to make their way from Syria to the United States, he told himself that the risk and cost would be worth it they could swap their war-ravaged homeland for what he believed was a “land of opportunity, hope and peace”.

But the family’s arrival in the US has proved more stressful than the journey: days after they reached Texas they found themselves the unwitting subject of a national debate over potential terrorist infiltration.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that Samer, his wife and two sons – aged two and five – could be the embodiment of America’s “worst nightmare”. Donald Trump speculated that the family, who are Christian, could be members of Islamic State… Read more here

Posted in asylees, Christian, ICE, right-wing, Syrian, U.S. Customs & Border Protection | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Corrections Corporation of America serves up maggots in the food

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 16, 2015

abuse-of-power

At Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia – the second largest immigration detention facility in the country, run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), immigrant workers and asylees report inadequate healthcare, food riddled with live maggots, lack of due process, and other inhumane and unlivable conditions. There have also been reports of sexual assault at the facility. When detainees responded with nonviolent protests – hunger strikes and “volunteer work” stoppage – CCA responded with a brutal militaristic crackdown. Despite increasing evidence of inhumane conditions, no investigation has been reported as underway or planned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). An article at The Guardian explains:

There is a crisis at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia – the second largest immigration detention facility in the country, and a for-profit facility run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA): hunger strikers protesting their detention were met by a brutal militaristic response that alerted immigrant rights advocates across Georgia and the country to a growing problem… Read more here

Posted in abuse, asylees, food, Georgia, health, ICE, medical care | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 18, 2015

running

A refugee program, called the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program, or CAM, is a new immigration initiative that aims to prevent minors from risking their lives to cross the border illegally, as thousands have done over the past few years. Most were from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, nations plagued by high murder rates, drug trafficking, and human smuggling. Under the new program minors facing persecution back home may qualify for refugee status, putting them on a path to a green card, resettlement aid, and eventual US citizenship. Minors who do not meet the strict legal standard for a refugee, but are still at risk, will be considered for “parole,” an immigration status that lets them come to the US but does not offer the other benefits. The program aims to create a legal process for these minors to immigrate, and to curb the growing influence of human traffickers. An article in the Boston Globe explains the details of the program:

Federal officials are rolling out a new refugee program that could reunite thousands of children facing danger in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador with their immigrant parents in the United States.

Officials announced the program with little fanfare in November, and it has taken time for the word to spread. Thousands of immigrants who have had temporary legal status for many years could be eligible to apply for the first time to bring their children to America.

The program could expand if President Obama wins a court battle over separate initiatives to grant deportation reprieves to millions more. Those initiatives suffered a setback Monday when a federal judge imposed a temporary injunction on the programs…

…officials say the new program aims to prevent children from risking their lives to cross the border illegally, as thousands did last summer.

We’ve established this program, frankly, it’s two-fold, to prevent children from taking this journey and to prevent the exploitation of their families by traffickers,” said Lawrence Bartlett, director of refugee admissions at the State Department, which is running the program with Homeland Security. “We think the smuggling networks are fairly robust and it’s to really guard against that and to really protect these kids.”

Under the new program, which started Dec. 1, children facing persecution back home may qualify for refugee status, putting them on a path to a green card, resettlement aid, and later, US citizenship. Children who fall short of the strict legal standard for a refugee, but are still at risk, will be considered for “parole,” an immigration status that lets them come to America but does not provide the other benefits.

In some cases, federal officials said, the spouses and grandchildren of immigrants with temporary status could be considered for admission if they face harm, though the program primarily is for unmarried children under 21…

The refugee program, called the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program, or CAM, is one of a battery of controversial new immigration initiatives the White House unveiled in recent months after the House refused to take up a bill on illegal immigration…

The number of minors taken into federal custody after crossing the border has roughly doubled each of the last two years — from 13,625 to 24,688, and to 57,496 last fiscal year, according to the Administration for Children and Families, which processes the children.

Most were from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, nations plagued by high murder rates, drug trafficking, and human smuggling. And most were released to parents or sponsors in the United States, including 1,500 children in Massachusetts from October 2013 through the end of last year…

Vice President Joe Biden announced the refugee program at a summit of Central American presidents in Washington on Nov. 14 — and federal officials say it is part of a broader multimillion-dollar effort to stem violence and human smuggling in the region. There is no end date, although it will be evaluated every year.

Under the rules, parents from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras can apply for the refugee program if they have lawful status, which includes immigrants — such as Montiel — who have Temporary Protected Status, a status granted to tens of thousands of Hondurans and Salvadorans whose homelands were engulfed in natural disasters…

The refugee application is free, but parents can only apply for their children through nearly 350 approved refugee resettlement agencies, such as Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Service, or Ascentria Care Alliance, formerly known as Lutheran Social Services of New England.

After parents apply, children will undergo interviews with US Citizenship and Immigration officers in their homelands to ascertain whether they qualify as refugees — those who fear persecution because of race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or because they are in a particular group, such as gay people.

Children also must undergo DNA testing to prove their relationship to their parents.

Federal officials declined to estimate how many parents are expected to apply… Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, gangs, Guatemalan, Honduran, Obama administration, safety, Salvadoran, teens, TPS (Temporary Protected Status), unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ORR oversight of unaccompanied minors shelter questioned

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 21, 2014

citationsAn ORR shelter in Texas for traumatized unaccompanied minors has been cited for overly using restraints. State records show children at Shiloh have made allegations of physical abuses and painful restraints. The state has cited the company that runs the facility 21 times for violating restraint guidelines. The local prosecutor has urged ORR officials to increase monitoring and lower the number of placements to “reduce the risks.” (one has to wonder if cases like this lead to the resignation of ORR’s director — its easier to cut and run when failing to answer questions no longer works). An AP article at the Star-Telegram has the details:

MANVEL, Texas   A shelter for traumatized immigrant children near Houston that has received $13 million in federal funds and been cited for overly using restraints says staff members deeply care about the well-being of residents, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Shiloh Treatment Center in rural Manvel is among a network of shelters that Congress says needs greater oversight from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which has been overwhelmed by a record number of children from Central America.

The shelter network overseen by the agency, known as ORR, has jumped from 50 to 125 facilities since the federal government began contracting with Shiloh in 2009, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Facilities such as Shiloh take among the most challenging immigrant cases, including children who arrive traumatized by their journeys or violence back home. State records show children at Shiloh have made allegations of physical abuses and painful restraints, and a local prosecutor wrote to federal authorities in 2011 with concerns…
U.S. Rep. Pete Olson said that when he called ORR with questions about Shiloh this summer, it only sent him a letter with basic information.

“The one thing that comes out over and over is the lack of transparency,” Olson said…

Jeri Yenne, Brazoria County’s Republican district attorney, said she firmly believes that Shiloh’s staff is made up of well-intentioned people. But she sent a letter to federal officials after the state had documented abuse allegations at Shiloh and another treatment center founded by Hill, according to the newspaper.

Yenne said she urged officials to increase monitoring and lower the number of placements to “reduce the risks.” An agency spokesman said federal staff are assigned to monitor every facility…

The newspaper reported that the agency has not responded to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Houston Chronicle in January for monitoring reports and other communication with Shiloh. Read more here

Posted in abuse, asylees, children, ORR, PTSD, teenagers, Texas, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama administration declares Central American minors priority for deportation; lawyers scramble

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 27, 2014

FASTPresident Obama’s immigration executive order which includes among other things setting up a program to allow 4000 minors into the country annually from Central America is in marked contrast to his administration’s declaration this past summer that puts similar minors who entered the country illegally on a fast track to deportation. Immigration courts have established accelerated dockets to speed up the process, and lawyers are scrambling to prepare complicated cases in a short amount of time. Although most of the minors requesting asylum report fleeing gang-related violence, immigration courts historically have been reluctant to offer protection on those grounds. An article at Minnesota Public Radio News explains the situation:

Lawyers across the nation are scrambling to piece together how President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration will affect their clients.

But so far, not much has changed for Central American minors who fled their home countries for the United States, said Laura Wilson, a Minneapolis attorney who represents four children.
Wilson’s clients were placed by immigration officials with family members in Minnesota. She is trying to gather their stories about the violence that drove them across the border, bolster them with expert opinions and bring them to a federal immigration hearing.

And she has just a few weeks to do it.

Although the president’s order could defer the deportation of millions of immigrants, it won’t help more than 200 children in Minnesota on a “fast-track” docket federal authorities established for immigrant children. That gives attorneys little time to prepare a case.

For Wilson, who works for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and dozens of other lawyers in the state, that means the frantic pace of interviews, affidavits and legal research will continue.

Tight deadlines complicate work

The number of children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has surged from about 4,000 in fiscal year 2011 to more than five times that number in fiscal year 2013, according to a report from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

That influx has swamped immigration courts across the country. The Obama administration this summer declared the children a priority for deportation, and courts established accelerated dockets to speed up the process… Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran, teenagers, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.S. to grant refugee status to Central American minors abroad

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 19, 2014

BorderGuardThe federal government will launch a program in December to grant refugee status to Central American minor children back home of parents who live legally in the US. The program does not apply to minors who have arrived in the U.S. illegally. The program is part of a plan to stem illegal child migration from their countries which culminated in “the surge” of the past two years. The quota for the plan is 4000 children per year. An article at Bismarck, North Dakota’s CBC KXNews has the details:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government will launch a program in December to grant refugee status to some people under the age of 21 who live in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and whose parents legally reside in the United States.

U.S. officials say parents can ask authorities free of charge for refugee status for their children in the Central American countries, which are plagued by poverty and vicious gang violence. The program does not apply to minors who have arrived in the U.S. illegally.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the program Friday at the Inter-American Development Bank, where the presidents of the three Central American countries will present a plan to stem child migration from their countries.

U.S. officials said that children deemed refugees will be able to work immediately upon arrival in the U.S., opt for permanent residency the following year and for naturalization five years later. They did not say how long the process of receiving refugee status will take.

Central American children who meet the requirements will be part of a quota of 4,000 people from Latin America receiving refugee status each fiscal year, officials said. The U.S. quota of Latin America refugees currently consists of Cubans and Colombians.

Applicants who don’t meet the requirements will be evaluated to see if they can be admitted conditionally under a non-permanent migratory status that allows them to work temporarily in the U.S…

The program aims to be a legal and safe alternative to the long and dangerous journey some Central American children take north to reach the U.S. and to reunite with their parents in the U.S. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied child and teenage migrants showed up at the U.S. border earlier this year… Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, Guatemalan, Honduran, Obama administration, Salvadoran, teenagers, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Political Right’s baseless criticism of San Diego facility for unaccompanied minors

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 12, 2014

southwest key san diego shelterThe political Right has been trying to attack the federal government’s costs for caring for the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied alien minors (and here, here and here) that have illegally crossed the Mexican border over the past two years. These minors are cared for by the federal Dept. of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). A so-called prime example of wasteful spending (the real motivation for criticisms being anti-immigrant sentiments rather than government spending) is the nonprofit Southwest Key’s facility in San Diego. Criticisms, now spearheaded by Iowan senator Chuck Grassley, include amenities for the minors including organic orchard and garden supplying the facility’s kitchen as well as a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies and an Acuaponics system cultivating over 1000 Tilapia fish. Yet, as Southwest Key points out the amenities mostly came with the property when it was leased by the non-profit and have added little costs. The animals on the farm were all donated or born there with the exception of $40 used to buy the stock for the Tilapia fish pond. Veterinary care is donated and feed costs are a negligible $60/month. An article in the San Diego Reader covers the story:

How is life for so-called unaccompanied alien children at a federally sponsored youth shelter in El Cajon? Perhaps too sweet, in the opinion of Iowa Republican senator Charles Grassley, as expressed by him in an October 30 letter to U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell…

But Grassley questioned the government’s “stewardship of taxpayer dollars” already spent by Southwest Key, the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit that runs the facility here, as well as others in Texas, Arizona, and California…

“On April 23, 2014, Southwest Key proposed to charge the government a ‘daily rate’ of $316 to house unaccompanied alien children in a facility in El Cajon, California,” according to Grassley’s letter, which cited Southwest Key’s description of the operation’s amenities on an application for federal funds.

“We have an organic orchard of orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees, as well as an Organic garden that supplements our kitchen with a wide variety of organic vegetables throughout the year,” the nonprofit said.

“We have a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies. We have also established an Acuaponics system where we are cultivating over 1000 Tilapia.”…

Southwest Key responded to Grassley’s letter with a statement saying “the cost per child in our California facilities is higher than other locations because they are small facilities with fewer beds. As the amount of beds goes up, the cost per child goes down. Unfortunately, Southwest Key has not been able to secure a larger facility in that region in order to expand to more beds.”

As for the alleged amenities, the nonprofit said, “The orchard and organic farm were pre-existing on the property when we leased it, so we have not purchased any trees or plants.

“We did pay a one-time fee of $40 to buy forty fish as stock. Since then they have reproduced at no cost to us. The cost to keep the orchard and garden is only the electricity used to run the well pump for watering. The crops they produce, however, supplement to our food supply and actually lower our expenditures there.

“The poultry on the farm also supplements our food supply. The water in the tilapia farm is constantly recycled and only requires minimal watering to compensate for evaporation and the waste from the fish is used to fertilize the organic garden….

“The animals at the farm in our El Cajon facility were all donated with the exception of one pony that was born at El Cajon. The veterinary care provided to the animals is also donated. The total cost of feed for all the animals — ponies, chickens, ducks and tilapia is a negligible part of the overall budget (approximately $60/month for feeding all animals)…. Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, funding, ORR, right-wing, San Diego, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »