The Kit Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will temporarily shelter over 2,000 unaccompanied teenage migrant boys in response to the spike in migrants arriving on the southern border. The Associated Press was the first to report about the Dallas City Council memo outlining the plans.
Rocky Vaz, the director of the Office of Emergency Management in Dallas, described the convention centers as a “decompression center”. The memo, mentioned in the article from the Associated Press, expects the repurposing to last up to 90 days. The convention center is being tapped to relieve the overcrowding at facilities near the border that have seen a steady rise in the number of incoming immigrants over the last year. There were over 100,000 instances of illegal border crossing in February 2021, a number greater than all but four months of the last president’s entire term. The US Border Patrol had over 4,200 children in custody, as of the day of the report.
The Biden administration, under the guidance of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, mobilized FEMA on Saturday, March 13, 2021, as an emergency measure to help cope with the deepening crisis along the US-Mexico border. They are also attempting to improve the condition of the temporary holding shelters for young migrants. The Health and Human Services Department is in a mad scramble to open facilities to relieve the Border Patrol, which cannot detain children for over 3 days. The complete lack of space in the HHS system has forced the Border Patrol to hold children longer than that limit.
The increased influx of immigrants on the southern border of the United States has proven to be a challenge for the current administration. President Joe Biden announced a task force to reunify children with their parents, a move in stark contrast to the last administration’s policy of family separation. However, the current administration left in place some policies from the previous administration citing the coronavirus pandemic. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that the Trump administration separated at least 5,500 children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
An official from the Department of Health and Human Services spoke to CNN about the migrant crisis saying, “We are examining a range of options to safely care for unaccompanied children and minimize stays in CBP facilities. These options include bringing more permanent state licensed beds on line, increasing bed capacity through Influx Care Facilities like Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility and utilizing Emergency Intake Sites such as the one opened yesterday in Midland, Texas.”
Local Dallas law firm, The Barber Law Firm's community blog is closely tracking the developments in this story. It has published a blog that aggregates the most relevant information from multiple sources in order to inform its readers about the measures being taken by the government to address the migrant crisis. The law firm handles many types of cases such as pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, car accident, drunk driver accident, motorcycle accident, defective product, wrongful death, negligence, workplace injury, construction accident, truck accident, and premises liability. The law firm has offices in Plano, Grapevine, Dallas, Irving, Fort Worth, Frisco, and San Antonio.
The conditions in border patrol facilities are dire as reported by lawyers from the National Center for Youth Law who spoke to about a dozen children in Donna, Texas. Some complaints include the kids weren’t able to take a shower for many days, they could not contact their parents, and they could not go outside in the sunlight, sometimes for several days. The center’s senior director of advocacy and child welfare described the situation as a humanitarian crisis.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the government is looking for additional facilities to house unaccompanied children. She added that, “Certainly we would ensure that we’re meeting the standard that we have set out.”
Interested readers can follow The Barber Law Firm to stay up to date with other announcements and press releases.
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