Inside the Tornillo ‘Tent City’ Housing Migrant Children

The federal government has released new photos and videos of a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, housing migrant children who were moved from other facilities to make room for other "tender age" children. Reporters were allowed to tour the Tornillo facility on Monday for two hours, where they saw 326 children.

12 photos
1/12
Courtesy Health & Human Services
2/12
Health & Human Services
A sign stands in front of a "tent city" housing mostly unaccompanied migrant teens in Tornillo, Texas. One emergency manager from BCFS, the nonprofit organization that runs the facility, said the facility would not exist without the policy and practice of separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. "The separations should have never happened. The process is flawed and it harmed the children," the employee, who declined to give his name, told reporters during a tour on Monday. "I would like to never do this mission again."
3/12
Health & Human Services
Of the 22 tents that serve the children, two are reserved for the 14 girls who live at the facility. The children, aged 13-17, were bought to Tornillo from facilities in 17 other states to make room for younger "tender age" migrant children.
4/12
Health & Human Services
Two migrant children call family members at the camp's "telephone tent." Children housed within the facilities were allowed two calls a week for ten minutes at a time.
5/12
Health & Human Services
Of the 326 detained children, 117 are from Honduras, 40 from El Salvador, 162 from Guatemala, three are from Mexico and four children from other countries. Fourteen of the children are girls.
6/12
Health & Human Services
BCFS, the non-profit organization contracted to run the Tornillo facility, said children are given time to exercise and play sports. Activities are gender-segregated.
7/12
Health & Human Services
Sleeping tents house up to twenty children each, with five bunks on each side. One tent had a drawing of a Honduran flag with the sentence, "I am 100% Honduran, and I walked 10,000 kilometres to the US."
8/12
Health & Human Services
Aside from the 22 barracks-style tents where the detained teens sleep, the tent city also includes a medical tent, a laundromat and a mess hall.
9/12
Health & Human Services
A look inside the medical facility.
10/12
Health & Human Services
A case management tent facility stands in the Tornillo tent city housing migrant children. One emergency manager from the BCFS blamed the practice of separating families at the border for the shelter's necessity. "The separations should have never happened," he said.
11/12
Health & Human Services
A worker prepares food for the migrant children detained in Tornillo, Texas. The Tornillo facility contains "spillover" migrant children, who were moved from other facilities to make room for younger children.
12/12
Health & Human Services
Facilities at Tornillo include sleeping tents, a telephone tent, laundromats, a tent for food preparation and meals, washing quarters and space for exercise, among others.
Contact Us