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ICE may seek up to 15,000 beds to detain immigrant families

McALLEN, Texas -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued a notice that it may seek up to 15,000 beds to detain immigrant families. The agency on Friday put out a request for information to help in planning for potential new family detention facilities.

The notice comes after the administration stopped separating immigrant children from their parents on the southwest border amid public outcry and officials said they intended to seek to detain families together during immigration proceedings.

The agency currently has about 3,300 beds for immigrant parents and their children in family detention facilities. The notice comes amid a scramble by federal agencies to find space for immigrants.

The Pentagon said it's drawing up plans to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied children on military bases. It would not be the first time the U.S. government has housed immigrant children temporarily at military bases. Former President Barack Obama did the same thing in 2014, when the unaccompanied minor crisis was at its height.

On Friday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said that 66 of the more than 2,300 migrant children separated from their families at the border in recent weeks under President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy are in Chicago area shelters. Durbin said two-thirds of those children are below the age of 13. His comments marked the first time a public official has specified how many of them are in the Chicago area.

They remain separated from their parents after Mr. Trump this week signed an order to stop separating families who cross the border illegally. The children are being cared for at shelters run by Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit human rights organization.

Meanwhile, ICE said Friday that 50 parents who were separated from their children are being held at its detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Spokesman Carl Rusnok said he didn't have any more details about how long those people had been held at the center, which is run by a private contractor, the GEO Group.

Immigration attorneys said they've been working to get parents released on bond as they try to reunite with their children.

Immigration Separating Families

Darwin Micheal Mejia, right, holds hands with his mother, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, after their reunion at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Friday, June 22, 2018, in Linthicum, Md. The Justice Department agreed to release Mejia-Mejia's son after she sued the U.S. government in order to be reunited following their separation at the U.S. border. She has filed for political asylum in the U.S. following a trek from Guatemala.

Patrick Semansky/AP