Vacant HISD middle school may house immigrant kids

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by Jaqueline Crea / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 3:26 PM

HOUSTON—A woman reached her boiling point Tuesday in front of the empty Terrell Middle School in Northeast Houston.

She’s not upset about the school locking its doors since 2001, it’s about the chance they may open for young migrant children.

“I understand it is a humanitarian issue, but look within your own house,” the angry resident said.

The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies took a preliminary tour of the HISD school, to see if the building could house unaccompanied immigrant children coming from Central America.

“We have to just imagine our own children without us. We have to imagine them seeking aid,” said Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson.

And just as seen in many parts of the country, people living in the area, and especially directly across the street, are hesitant and scared.

“To me the government should build a facility down at the border. I feel sorry for the kids because so much is happening in Central America,” said resident Larry Brantley.

Residents in the area said they are worried the children will bring more crime.

“It’s dangerous for me and everybody else because we don’t know who is going to be looking for these kids,” said resident Wanda Medlock.

The HISD spokesperson said the children have been flooding the district for years.

“We receive students from outside the country every day, but we will respond to that,” she said.

Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson addressed the media after she had accompanied the officials that toured the school.

“They have no status. They have no ability to receive status. They will be deported, but one of our responsibilities is if they are unaccompanied, they have to be deported to something,” said Lee Jackson. “This is a federal government. This is not utilizing any local resources. There will be full responsibility if any site is chosen. None may be chosen.”

She asked for kindness and empathy for children and people she said are just trying to live.

There is no final decision whether the building will be used and if so, when the children would arrive and how long they would stay. Also, Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson explained the children would not be integrated into the neighborhood. Until a decision is made, she will be going out into the neighborhoods to talk to residents and inform them of the plans.

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