A handful of the nearly 2,000 immigrant children who have been separated from their families at the border due to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on illegal crossings are being housed in a shelter on Long Island, Newsday reported.
For about a month, eight immigrant children have been staying at MercyFirst in Syosset, a nonprofit sponsored by Sisters of Mercy, the outlet reported.
The children were brought to the area not because they had family nearby, but because MercyFirst had available beds, its resident and CEO Gerard McCaffery told Newsday. He added that the immigrant children have been displaying the emotional impact of the separation from their parents.
“Kids are very resilient, but it doesn’t take much for a kid to start crying and miss his mom,” McCaffery said.
The current facilities for other immigrant children separated from their families at the border in April and May have drawn extensive outrage, especially after journalists recently accessed a site in McAllen, Texas.
At that facility, children, sometimes up to 20, waited in cages made from metal fencing. They had large foil sheets for blankets, and bottles of water and bags of chips were spread across the cages.
“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” President Donald Trump said Monday amid intensifying outrage from both sides of the aisle.
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Tuesday joined a coalition of 21 other attorney generals demanding Attorney General Jeff Sessions end the practice of separating immigrant children from their families.
“The Trump administration is tearing children away from their parents just to further a draconian political agenda,” Underwood said. “This is not only inhumane and totally unconscionable — it also undermines our public safety. This is not who we are as a country, and our coalition of Attorneys General will continue to act to protect the people we serve and the rule of law.”
The letter was led by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and in addition to New York’s Underwood, it was also signed by their counterparts in California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
Trump is slated to meet with Republicans lawmakers Tuesday ahead of votes on immigration legislation.