Pecos, TX - Today, a Reveal investigative report exposed that Carla Provost, an official central to the Trump Administration’s family separation policy, remains active under the Biden administration through a contract between the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and San-Antonio based organization Endeavors. Endeavors, which has employed former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, suspiciously secured no-bid contracts with both ICE and ORR last year. Endeavors hired Ms. Provost in March 2021 and tasked her with overseeing operations as Site Director for the Pecos Emergency Intake Site for unaccompanied migrant children for three months before moving her to other projects within the organization.
Immigrant rights advocates are appalled by this revelation and demand:
- The end to child detention through the immediate closure of all “emergency intake” and “influx” child detention facilities, including the Pecos and Ft. Bliss sites in TX, and a STOP to all plans to open any new sites;
- The resignation of Ms. Provost from her position at Endeavors;
- The termination of all government contracts with Endeavors and no future contracts with the organization;
- And the end to Title 42, which in reality has been a continuation of cruel family separation under a different name.
Pecos and Ft. Bliss are child detention facilities that opened last year as “emergency intake” sites. Today, both remain open under the Biden Administration as “influx” sites. Given their lack of licensing and less stringent requirements, propensity towards neglect and abuse, prolonged stays, and their inability to meet the individualized needs of children, advocates insist that both the emergency intake and influx model amount to detention, not shelter. In fact, advocates, reporters, whistleblowers, and impacted communities can point to numerous allegations of abuse and negligence at Pecos and Ft. Bliss. Ms. Provost's role in the Trump administration's family separation policy makes her unfit to oversee the care of unaccompanied migrant children. This personnel shuffling is disrespectful to the memory of children who died in detention and to migrant families who have been separated by the U.S. government. These staffing and contract decisions are an indictment of U.S. immigration policy across multiple presidential administrations.
“Carla Provost, who was complicit in the deaths of children in CBP Custody and the separation of hundreds of children from the loving care of their families, cannot be trusted with caring for children,” said Setareh Ghandehari, Advocacy Director at Detention Watch Network. “While Provost’s hiring is disturbing, it is only one part of the larger irreparable issues with ORR’s model of emergency intake and influx child detention sites, which have repeatedly caused harm to children. The Biden administration must immediately shut down the Pecos and Fort Bliss child detention sites for unaccompanied children, stop all its plans to open new large scale influx facilities, and end Title 42.”
“Carla Provost was an architect of family separation under the Trump administration. Her continued connection to ORR and its expansion of child detention reveals a failure of the Biden administration to keep its promise to end child detention,” said Mike Ishii of Tsuru for Solidarity. “As survivors of U.S. mass detention and family separation, Japanese Americans demand that Pecos, Fort Bliss and other planned child detention sites be shut down. Emergency Intake Sites such as Fort Bliss have been exposed by whistleblowers as places where children have been neglected and subjected to violence and trauma. Who allows children to be harmed in this cruel and unnecessary manner?”
“The Biden administration has promised to implement a ‘more fair and humane” immigration policy. Giving a key figure who advocated for the former administration’s stance of family separation without regard to compassion, safety and health concerns, is incomprehensible,” said Carolina Canizales, Senior Texas Strategist for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). “Removing Ms. Provost from her position and ending contracts with profit over people focused companies like Endeavors are steps the Biden administration must do to completely overhaul the inhumane system currently in place for immigrant children at the border.”
“We must never forget the children who died and were separated from their families by the deportation machine in this country. Just like a leopard doesn’t change its spots, ICE and CBP will continue to profit from the bodies and deaths of immigrants until there are real consequences for their actions,” said Juliana Nascimento, Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy at United We Dream. “The Biden administration must show us they care about all children and their families by holding Trump administration officials responsible for the separation of families, while defunding ICE and CBP.”
“It is appalling that Carla Provost, who under her leadership at CBP holds responsibility for the separation of hundreds of migrant children from their families, continues to be part of the profit-making industry that detains migrant children in inhumane settings,” said Kristin Kumpf, Director of Human Migration and Mobility at the American Friends Service Committee. “If the Biden administration truly wants to fulfill their promise to create more humane immigration policies, then they must immediately stop the practice of placing unaccompanied children in any intake or influx facilities such as Pecos or Ft. Bliss, end unjust policies such as Title 42 that continue to separate migrant families, and restore asylum processing at the border.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level. Visit detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at www.ilrc.org, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC.
Tsuru for Solidarity is a project of the Japanese American Action Network, a national coalition of community social justice advocates. Tsuru means “crane” in Japanese. The Tsuru project was started by survivors and descendants of WWII U.S. concentration camps who speak out against immigrant detention and the separation of families. They bring origami cranes, hand-folded by the Japanese American community, as symbols of transformation, healing and social justice. Tsuruforsolidarity@gmail.com. Follow @TsuruForSolidarity.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 800,000 members, over 100 local groups and a reach of over 5 million per month. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.