Inside the Ex-Walmart Where Immigrant Kids Are Locked In for 22 Hours a Day - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Immigration in America

Immigration in America

Full coverage of immigration issues in the U.S.

Inside the Ex-Walmart Where Immigrant Kids Are Locked In for 22 Hours a Day

Children are automatically separated from parents referred for criminal prosecution, and it's led to a surge in children filling the center above its legal capacity

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    The biggest licensed child care facility in the United States for undocumented immigrant children, Casa Padre, houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging from the ages of 10 to 17, and looks more like incarceration than temporary shelter, NBC News reported

    The boys are a mix of children who crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied and those separated from their parents by Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new zero-tolerance policy. They spend 22 hours per day during the week locked inside a converted former Walmart in Texas, and the average stay is 52 days. 

    Children are automatically separated from parents referred for criminal prosecution, and it's led to a surge in children filling the center above its legal capacity. Now, officials in Washington are scrambling to open temporary tent cities around the country. 

    Casa Padre is the facility Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was turned away from earlier this month after arriving unannounced and seeking entry to inspect conditions. The walls are covered with American history-themed art, including murals of various presidents.