It should be noted that the large amount of detainees isn't due to an influx in migrant children; rather it's the result of fewer children being released into the custody of guardians or sponsors.
Juan José Gutiérrez, the executive director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday that a majority of those being detained are teenagers from Mexico and Central America who traveled unaccompanied.
"These individuals are not being picked up by family, friends or relatives or any kind of sponsor willing to sponsor children, because the [US President] Donald Trump administration is making it harder and harder under this zero tolerance immigration policy for people to step forward and be able to sponsor these children and get them out of detention," he told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.
"What we have here is that all these children are being kept in these modern-day concentration camps called immigration shelters," he added, before noting that owners of the shelters are making a profit off of others' suffering.
The Trump administration issued a new rule in June that states sponsors must be fingerprinted in order to have a child released into their care, and that their information has to then be shared with immigration officials.
Children are being kept in dozens of shelters scattered throughout the US as their individual cases travel through the US court system at a snail's space. On Tuesday, it was reported that a tent city for migrant boys in Tornillo, Texas, would stay open until at least the end of 2019, marking the third time the temporary shelter saw its closure delayed.
Kenneth Wolfe, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson, told CBS News Tuesday that the compound would be expanding in order to accommodate some 3,800 additional beds. Though the facility originally held some 400 boys when it opened on June 14, 2018, it currently has the means to house 1,200 kids.
Acknowledging that owners of the private detention camps are lining their pockets with dollar bills, Gutiérrez told Kiriakou that "this is [being done] in the nature of capitalism, the so-called free enterprise system, where you always put profits before people's rights and their needs."
"In this case it is profits before the rights of undocumented teenagers," he said.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that the Trump administration had diverted some $10 million from several agencies, including the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to fund the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). This was in addition to the $200 million that the Trump administration redirected from the Department of Homeland Security to ICE over the summer. Of the $200 million, $93 million was allocated for detention centers.