DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — There is a surge of children crossing the southern border from Mexico and now the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas is preparing to receive thousands of teenage migrants.
The convention center, which is being called a “decompression center”, will house teenage boys between 15 and 17 years old. These kids were not separated from their parents, they crossed the border alone and are now in need of temporary shelter. They could start arriving as early as this week.READ MORE: As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Child Abuse Reports Rise In North Texas
“We’ve done this before, in helping to be a way station for people on this journey of seeking asylum,” said Rev. Rachel Baughman, senior pastor at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. “We really serve as a place for them to get some of their basic needs met.”
Oak Lawn Methodist, along with a few other organizations, are preparing to lend a hand and help the children.
In all, some 3,000 could take up residency in the convention center in Dallas and stay for as long as three months or until they are reunited with family members or set connected with a sponsor family.
The federal government is coordinating and executing the moves to free up space in jam-packed Border Patrol facilities in Texas. The City of Dallas won’t pay any money toward this effort, because in addition to running the moves the government is footing the bill for the food the children eat, their security, cleaning of the facilities where they’ll be housed and their medical care.
Bus loads of young people began arriving in Midland, Texas on March 15.READ MORE: Preschool Owners Battling City Of Plano Over Eminent Domain For 4 Years
This operation will be run entirely by the federal government from… the food they eat… to Security… cleaning… and medical care. The city of Dallas won’t have to pay a dime.
Governor Greg Abbott has expressed his disappointment in President Joe Biden, saying that the administration is “risking the health and safety of Texans and putting children at risk from cartels and human traffickers.”
Abbott has expressed concerns about COVID-19 and the possible variants they teenagers have been exposed to prior to arriving. Saying that the migrants pose an “incredible threat to the health and safety of the American people,” Republican Beth Van Duyne has gathered signatures from 19 Texas house Republicans encouraging Attorney General Ken Paxton to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration.
Midland, Texas has already received bus loads of teenagers. The Republican mayor in the city, Patrick Payton, said, “This is a complete tragedy. This is a complete overreach and a complete abuse of our community. Fortunately, we don’t have it as bad as Dallas does.”
On Tuesday Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the policy of allowing unaccompanied minors seeking asylum to remain in the US, saying they are vulnerable and that his department ended the Trump administration’s policy of expelling them. “We have had to rebuild the entire system, including the policies and procedures required to administer the asylum laws that Congress passed long ago,” he said.MORE NEWS: Fewer North Texans Opening Homes To New Pets With Schools And Businesses Back Open
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping get the children out of Border Patrol custody and into the new shelters.