Immigrant children being sent to IAH to be flown elsewhere

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by Alice Barr / KHOU 11 News and KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 10:26 PM

HOUSTON – Federal immigration officials have finally released a statement about undocumented children being brought to Bush International Airport.

Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement are now saying that they have created a staging hub at IAH to fly the undocumented children to Department of Health and Human Services custody in different parts of the country.

Relocation centers like the one in the Rio Grande Valley are getting too crowded, with children crossing the border alone, forcing the move to new locations.

ICE officials said the children shouldn’t be at Bush Airport for longer than 12 hours, and if it passes that point they will move them into some other ICE-supervised housing.

But authorities said this is not a situation where dozens of kids will be loaded onto buses and sent to shelters in the Houston area – they will go to various locations through Health and Human Services, or the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Immigration advocacy groups came to the airport Thursday urging for understanding for these children, but several travelers KHOU 11 News talked to aren’t ready for the children to stay in the U.S.

“I don’t think that they should stay illegally, because I don’t think that the citizens who are working hard to pay for everything, that they should be paying for people that are here illegally,” Marlene Summers, a Montgomery resident, said.

“We’re asking for people to have separate conversations because these are two different subgroups of people. You’re talking about people who have been established here, have lived here their whole lives, from kids who are crossing the border, sometimes without even knowledge of exactly what they’re doing, oftentimes they’re being lied to by smugglers,” Cesar Espinosa, with FIEL Houston, said.

KHOU 11 News is also being told that there is a 4-year-old girl who may be arriving at IAH as part of this group. Her mother lives here in Houston and is hoping to reunite with her, but it’s unclear right now whether she’ll be allowed to stay.

Stay with KHOU.com and watch KHOU 11 News as will bring your more details on this developing story as they become available.

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