Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
Thousands of immigrant teenagers will be held at a convention center in Dallas, Texas, as an increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children occupy available facilities, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Up to 3,000 boys aged 15 to 17 will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas possibly beginning this week, the AP reported. The convention center will be used by federal agencies for up to 90 days as a “decompression center,” according to a memo obtained by the AP.
“We are committed to working with our federal partners to accommodate the request to utilize our facilities. Collective action is necessary and we will do our best to support this humanitarian effort,” City Manager for the City of Dallas T.C. Broadnax said in a statement. Broadnax directed further questions to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas is expected to be used to house up to 3,000 immigrant male teens (ages 15-17) coming across the border for up to 90 days, according to sources briefed on the plans & a memo obtained by ABC News. Confirming AP w/ @LukeLBarr
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 15, 2021
HHS is running out of room in their own facilities and is working to find other places around the country to host unaccompanied minors so they can be transferred out of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, the AP reported.
Over 1,000 unaccompanied minors are being held in a tent facility south of Dallas in Donna, Texas, where they said conditions are overcrowded causing some to sleep on the floor of the tent facility, the AP reported. Others reportedly did not have access to showers for around five days at a time.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and HHS are “responsible for providing shelter management and contracts” for security, cleaning, medical care and food for the minors detained at the convention center, the memo said, according to the AP.
Other unaccompanied minors were transported to a facility converted from an oilfield worker camp in Midland, Texas, starting Sunday, the AP reported. American Red Cross volunteers will oversee the facility, though it’s unclear how they have been trained to handle the task.
CBP officials have apprehended more than 400 minors a day in recent weeks, the AP reported. Minors are being apprehended at a faster rate than HHS can process and release them to sponsors leading to fuller facilities.
HHS and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.