A member of congress expressed disbelief at the price tag to keep the facility running for what he called “invisible, imaginary, nonexistent human beings.”
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on September 18, 2019, at 10:01 p.m. ET
Since the last child left a south Florida facility housing unaccompanied immigrant minors on Aug. 3, the federal government has spent more than $33 million to keep the massive detention center open.
Jonathan Hayes, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency in charge of housing unaccompanied immigrant children, said during congressional testimony Wednesday that the Homestead facility was currently staffed to hold 1,200 children, though there are none housed at the center.
Keeping the facility open costs about $720,000 a day, Hayes said, at a price of approximately $600 per child. If the facility were to be shutdown, it would take 90 to 120 days to reactivate it in the event it was suddenly needed, he said.
Since March 2018, more than 14,300 unaccompanied immigrant children have been placed in the Homestead facility, ORR said. After the last child left Homestead, the facility reduced its capacity from 2,700 beds to 1,200.