All migrant children transferred from controversial Texas tent camp

Camp housed nearly 3,000 minors at its peak

By RAY SANCHEZ AND DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Children and workers are seen at a tent encampment near the Tornillo Port of Entry on June 19, 2018, in Tornillo, Texas.

(CNN) - All minors at a massive tent camp for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas, have been have been placed with vetted sponsors, an official with the contractor that operates the facility for the Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.

The release of the last children at the controversial desert facility comes less than two months after HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson issued a warning about the camp's "serious safety and health vulnerabilities," including a lack of criminal background checks for staff and a "dangerously low number of clinicians."

Tornillo, a stretch of federal land selected by the Trump administration in June to temporarily shelter unaccompanied migrant children, housed nearly 3,000 minors at its peak.

Here is a closer look at the facility in Tornillo

The vast majority of the children have been placed with sponsors, and about 300 moved to other facilities while still in the sponsorship process, the official with BCFS, which operates the camp, told CNN on Friday.

Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who represents the area where the camp was located, tweeted Friday morning that the last child had left Tornillo, adding: "This tent city should never have stood in the first place but it is welcome news that it will be gone. "

The tent city mostly housed children who arrived unaccompanied at the southwest border with Mexico, including some who were detained as part of the administration's family separation practice.

The next step is to dismantle and remove tents and other structures, with hopes of completely shutting down the camp before the end of the month, according to the BCFS official.

In December, the Trump administration reversed a policy that immigration advocates said caused thousands of unaccompanied migrant children to remain in shelters for extended periods.

HHS no longer requires fingerprint checks for all adult members of a household when a sponsor applies to take in unaccompanied minors, according to the agency. Sponsors must still be fingerprinted and undergo background.

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