The federal government has removed nearly 249 children from the detention center in El Paso, Texas that received heightened media coverage in recent days over its inhumane, unsanitary conditions, according to the Associated Press.
Only 30 children remain held at the center, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) told the AP after a meeting with Customs and Border Protection. According to reports from the AP and other news outlets, children were left without basic toiletries and sanitary products like soap and toothpaste. Many were sick with the flu or in quarantine and several of the older children were tasked with caring for toddlers and tender age children.
The reports sparked bipartisan outcry from lawmakers. Escobar sent a letter to Customs and Border Patrol officials demanding more funding to care for the children. Vice President Mike Pence called the conditions “totally unacceptable,” but tossed the responsibility to Congress.
Children are only supposed to be held in this type of short-term detention center for 72 hours at the longest before being moved to Health and Human Services custody, but many children had been there for weeks.