DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – During a news conference in Dallas, Gov. Greg Abbott said he’s asking the Biden administration to allow Texas Department of Public Safety authorities to talk to the thousands of migrant teens that will be housed at the convention center.
It was announced earlier this week that 3,000 boys between the ages of 15 and 17 will be housed at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as the U.S.-Mexico border sees an influx in migrants.READ MORE: Texas Experiencing Another COVID-19 Surge
The federal government created this shelter as current facilities are not meant to hold children in custody. Hundreds of children are illegally coming across the Texas border from Mexico by themselves nearly every day.
On Wednesday, Abbott said he’s seeking answers on the migrant children that will be at the convention center and other similar housing facilities across the state. He said information on the unaccompanied minors needs to be known, such as if they were involved in trafficking.
According to Abbott, Texas DPS has been working to crack down on trafficking near the border through an effort he called Operation Lone Star.
“The Texas Department of Public Safety has been and will be apprehending unaccompanied minors who cross the border. And when they do, they will be seeking information about human traffickers as well as other crimes that may have occurred,” Abbott said.
As a way to further expand the crackdown on trafficking, Abbott said he wants the Texas DPS to be able to speak to unaccompanied minors at the federally run facilities such as the convention center in Dallas.
“The thought of any child suffering at the hands of human traffickers is completely unacceptable,” Abbott said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw also spoke at the news conference about the need for the department to gather information from minors.READ MORE: Administrative Court Judge Orders Mask-Wearing To Enter Dallas County Courthouses
“It’s important that they interview each of these [unaccompanied minors] and find out what has happened,” McCraw said. “I can tell you the challenge they have in interviewing these children… is they have been threatened by the cartels.”
“When a cartel says ‘if you talk, we’re going to go kill your families,’ they actually mean that,” McCraw added.
Abbott put blame on President Joe Biden for the influx of migrant children coming into Texas, saying the administration was “completely not prepared.”
“What the Biden Administration is doing by allowing any child who wants to come across the border to come here, it means he is going to subject thousands upon thousands of children to the horrific trauma that these children have to go through as they make that trek through the border,” Abbott said.
“I urge President Biden do not traumatize these children by enticing them to make this trek,” Abbott added.
In a statement on Tuesday, the White House responded to Abbott’s concerns, saying:
“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.”
A spokesperson for the White House said when it comes to CDC protocols, all of the minors will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the convention center and then will need to quarantine for 10 to 14 days.MORE NEWS: Summer Break Ends Early For Some Dallas ISD Schools
Watch the full news conference below: