DALLAS (KXAN) — Thousands of migrant teenage boys seeking asylum in the United States arrived late Wednesday night in Dallas. At least four buses full of teens pulled up at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
FEMA has turned the convention center into an emergency center for at least the next 90 days to help ease the strain on intake areas at the border overrun with a surge of migrants. Thousands of unaccompanied children have been crossing the border without their parents.
The teens being housed in Dallas are all boys between the ages of 15 to 17, according to a memo sent to the Dallas City Council. That memo calls the new FEMA site a “decompression center.”
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department quickly opened this makeshift shelter in Dallas to take the strain off of the U.S. Border Patrol, which is not supposed to detain children for more than three days but had been doing that regularly. It’s been holding children longer because there is no more room at the HHS sites nearby. This is similar to the surge than happened in 2019 when Donald Trump was president.
A tent facility operated by the Border Patrol in Donna, some 500 miles (804 kilometers) south of Dallas, is holding more than 1,000 children and teenagers, some as young as 4. Lawyers who inspect immigrant detention facilities under a court settlement say they interviewed children who reported being held in packed conditions in the tent, with some sleeping on the floor and others not able to shower for five days.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.