DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More buses carrying undocumented teenage boys are expected to arrive at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
More than 1,000 teens have been taken there to relieve overcrowding of holding facilities in the southern border.READ MORE: 2 People Found Dead Inside Abandoned School In Parker County
They are being housed in what U.S. officials are calling a decompression center, awaiting processing and being released to a sponsor relative in the U.S. while they await their court date with an immigration judge.
Dallas-based immigration attorney Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez spent her afternoon Sunday, March 21, volunteering at the site and described it as being “well-run.”
“The number one question that I got from the boys is ‘what is going to happen to me? What is this process’?”
Saenz-Rodriguez said the length of time the process of reuniting them with a sponsor relative in the U.S. might take is not clear.READ MORE: Tony Evans Jr., Lancaster Football Player And University Of Wyoming Recruit, Killed In Shooting At Dallas Hotel
The sponsors would need to undergo an extensive vetting process to make sure the teens are not being trafficked.
“The boys are all in pods and they have their groups and they move about in groups and they have a dining area,” said Saenz-Rodriguez. “They have an area where they can contact a relative whether that be in the United States or internationally depending on where they come from.”
She said the teenagers are coming from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala fleeing violence.
“Every single one of them told me that the risk of coming was way better than staying in a place where they knew they were going to get involved in violent gangs or their family had been persecuted and they had been sent out in order to save their lives,” she said.MORE NEWS: 11-Year-Old Fatally Shot By Child Who Found Gun In Vehicle At Dallas Walmart, Police Say
COVID-19 restrictions have delayed the immigration court process and according to Saenz-Rodriguez, it is not known how long it could take before the teenagers are given a court date before an immigration judge.