Joe Biden plans to use the downtown Dallas convention center to hold 3,000 migrant teenagers as sharply higher numbers of border crossings have severely strained the current capacity to hold youths.
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be used for up to 90 days beginning as early as this week, according to written notification sent to members of the Dallas City Council and provided to The Associated Press. Federal agencies will use the facility to house boys ages 15 to 17, according to the memo, which describes the soon-to-open site as a “decompression center.”
U.S. Health and Human Services is rushing to open facilities across the country to house immigrant children who are otherwise being held by the U.S. Border Patrol, which is generally supposed to detain children for no more than three days. The Border Patrol is holding children longer because there is next to no space in the HHS system, similar to the last major increase in migration two years ago.
A tent facility operated by the Border Patrol in Donna, some 170 miles (274 kilometers) south of Midland, 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.
The U.S. government plans to use the downtown Dallas convention center to hold up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers as sharply higher numbers of border crossings have severely strained the current capacity to hold youths, The Associated Press has learned.