Separation Costs Three Times More Than Keeping Migrant Kids With Families

The cost of keeping migrant kids separated from their families in so-called “tent cities” far outstrips that of keeping them with their parents, NBC News reports. Citing figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NBC reports it costs $775 per child per night to keep children detained in the newly created tent cities; it costs $256 per person per night to hold children in permanent HHS facilities. Moreover, keeping children with their parents in detention centers like the one run by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement in Dilley, Texas, cost $298 per resident per night, according to an agency estimate. The reason for the higher cost, one HHS official told NBC News, is that they need to bring in “security, air conditioning, medical workers, and other government contractors,” which far exceeds the cost for facilities that are already routinely staffed. NBC calculates the additional cost to operate a 400-bed temporary structure for one month at capacity at more than $5 million.