The Trump administration plans to pay a Texas nonprofit nearly half a billion dollars this year to care for immigrant children who were detained crossing the U.S. border illegally, according to government data.
The nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs Inc., is to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018, according to the data — the most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. Southwest Key has about a dozen facilities in Texas, including a site at a former WalMart Inc. store in Brownsville that has drawn attention from members of Congress and national news organizations.
President Donald Trump is facing bipartisan criticism for his "zero tolerance" policy toward families that cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally. Under the policy, all undocumented adults who cross the border are to be arrested and prosecuted, even if they mean to petition for asylum. As a result, their children are removed and placed in the custody of U.S. authorities — briefly with Customs and Border Patrol, under the Department of Homeland Security, and then with the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Administration for Children and Families, an HHS agency.