At the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, Officer Jason Hubert is getting ready to fire a confiscated handgun into a thick metal bullet trap filled with a thick sludge called snake oil.
The tent city popped up over the summer, about 40 miles from El Paso, as the U.S. government sought more space to hold hundreds of unaccompanied teenagers caught crossing the Rio Grande from places like Honduras and Guatemala. It was supposed to be a temporary solution, but a one-month contract to operate the camp stretched to two months, then three, then into the holidays as its population swelled.
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