Holding children in newly built tents costs $775 per person per night, an official from the Department of Health and Human Services told NBC News. That's far more than the $256 nightly charge in a permanent HHS facility, or $298 per night in a detention center like where the children's parents are staying. Even a luxury hotel — like, say, the Trump International in New York City — costs only about $519 nightly.
Moreover, it costs $5 million more per month to place 400 migrant children in a tent instead of in a permanent building, per NBC News, and kids usually stay for about two months. The price tag stems from a sudden influx of separated children and a rush to build, secure, and air condition the tents, former HHS officials told NBC. Still, HHS is "aggressively looking" for places to put more tent cities, the current official said.