DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The federal government is scouting potential sites in North Texas for migrant children to stay.
That’s because the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing illegally into the U.S. is overwhelming the government’s facilities and shelters along the southern border and more places are needed to house them.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said during the past week, he has spoken with the Regional Director of U.S. Health and Human Services about the situation. “We said we’re glad to help.”
The Administration of Children and Families, which cares for the youngsters until they are placed with relatives or sponsors, said officials are looking for both temporary and permanent places not only in the DFW area, but Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix and Atlanta.
In a statement the agency said, “The search for and addition of permanent licensed facilities is being pursued to reduce the potential need for temporary influx shelters in the future.”
Unlike previous years, Judge Jenkins said the federal government is reviewing locations, not local leaders.
Still, Jenkins said he has his preferences. “I like the use temporarily until summer rolls around the summer camps because those are tailor made for the kids.”
In 2015, the federal government had migrant children temporarily stay at a camp in Ellis County.
It’s not clear if that’s being considered now.
Because of the surge, the federal government may care for more children this year than its previous peak of 59,170 in fiscal year in 2016.
So far this fiscal year, the government has cared for 32,100 youngsters, up 50 percent from the last fiscal year.
Jenkins said, “If we have the kids here in the Metroplex, where it’s closer to the people who want to help, then I think you’d see a lot ore help come to bear.”
No word when the government will decide if or when to send the youngsters here to North Texas.
Judge Jenkins said it may not happen at all.