DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Every day, hundreds of children are illegally coming across the Texas border from Mexico by themselves.
They’re being held in federal custody in facilities not meant for children, so the federal government is now creating temporary shelters.
One of which will be in Dallas.
As early as Wednesday, March 17, as many as 3,000 teen boys between the ages of 15-17, could be arriving at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated the site for emergency intake. Teens can be processed, cared for and released into an appropriate shelter or long term care.
The Red Cross, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church and Catholic Charities all lending a hand in the operation.
“Our help will be really centered on getting volunteers, specifically Spanish-speaking volunteers to help, to serve down at the convention center, to help keep the kids calm and nurtured, emotionally supported if you will,” Catholic Charities CEO Dave Woodyard said.
“I think this effort, just bringing in hands from all sorts of organizations in Dallas, is a way we can also seek to make Dallas a welcoming city,” Senior Pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church Rev. Rachel Baughman said.
Governor Abbott is not happy with the Biden administration’s decision.
He released the following statement on Monday:
“The Biden Administration’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis for unaccompanied minors coming across the border. With no plan in place, the administration has created heartbreaking and inhumane conditions for children who are being held in Texas. We have no idea if these children are being reunited with their families through DNA testing or other means, or if they have been victims of human trafficking.
“As the Governor of Texas, my responsibility is the health and safety of our citizens, and the Biden Administration’s lack of planning has created a public health and safety emergency in our communities. Is the federal government tracking what countries these children are coming from and what COVID-19 variants they might have been exposed to? How long will these children be held in Texas? Are these children receiving COVID-19 tests, and how is the Biden Administration handling those who test positive? Is the federal government conducting contact tracing and following CDC quarantine protocols? The answers to these questions affect the health and safety of our communities, and Texans deserve answers. But more than that, the American people deserve action from this administration. Texas is putting President Biden on notice that his policies are risking the health and safety of Texans and putting children at risk from cartels and human traffickers.”
In response, the White House has released the following statement:
“It’s unfortunate that Governor Abbott – instead of working with the Administration to come up with and implement solutions – is focused on exploiting current challenges at the border. The fact of the matter is the last administration left our country a dismantled and unworkable immigration system, and we are working around the clock to execute solutions that both address the current situation and also reflect the values we share as a nation.”
The intake site could potentially operate for upwards of three months.
All of the expenses in this operation will be paid by the federal government.
FEMA will handle needs like food, medical care and security.