HOUSTON — At least 500 children apprehended by federal agents at the border are now bound for Houston. U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee tells KHOU11, the girls are set to arrive within the next few days.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is paying the National Association of Christian Churches to care for 500 children. KHOU11 is not publicizing this exact location of the north Houston site for the safety of the minors. The NACC hung a sign on its fence today that reads: No trespassing. No soliciting. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now patrolling the property.
“Everything is in place,” said Jackson Lee after a Thursday night tour of the 10th emergency intake site to open under the Biden Administration within the last six weeks. “It is filled with appropriate bedding. Wonderful staff.”
Through video shot by Air11, we can see that an ambulance is now on stand by at the property. Jackson Lee says medical staff will be on site 24/7 and federal employees will supervise the staff that’s gone from responding to natural disasters to the growing humanitarian crisis at the border.
Jackson Lee says the site is approved by HHS to hold 500 girls. Jackson Lee says the facility will not be caring for babies at this time. “They may come in the late night, early morning. Or they may come in the next couple of days.”
Neither Jackson Lee nor U.S. Representative Sylvia Garica, who toured the facility this afternoon, took photos or videos inside the facility, only describing the facility as “clean” and “safe and secure.
The lack of transparency is concerning to Fiel. With 11,000 members, it’s the largest immigrant right’s group in Houston.
“Many parents think that we have a direct connection with ICE or with DHS and think that we can call a magic number to try and find their relatives. Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” said Cesar Espinoza. He’s the Executive Director of Fiel and he showed up to the site Thursday afternoon in hopes of making contact with NACC.
To the parents who are searching for their children, U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia said, “we are going to do everything humanly possible to return these children to their relative here in the United States if they have one.”
If a child is not reunited with a relative here in the America, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement will attempt to place the child with a sponsor who can care for the child as they child navigates the U.S. Immigration Courts, or the child will stay in federal custody.
“The number one priority of this administration is to take care of the kids,” said Garcia. “Period.”