The Biden administration drew fire from the governor of Texas after opening yet another facility in the state to address the number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border. In the latest move, the department has opened an existing oil worker man camp in Pecos, Texas.
The facility, previously known as the Pecos Lodge North, will serve as the latest site to accommodate the massively growing numbers of unaccompanied migrant children illegally crossing the border. In a statement released on Saturday, HHS relayed the following information.
It is anticipated the Target Lodge Pecos North ICF will initially accommodate approximately 500 children in hard-sided structures with the potential to expand to 2000. Additional semi-permanent (soft-sided) capacity may be added if necessary, though ORR will always prioritize placing children in hard-sided structures over semi-permanent structures. ORR is committed to holding ICFs to the same or higher standards as state-licensed facilities. The Target Lodge Pecos North ICF will be used when the site is ready to safely receive children.
Using ICFs will help ensure children are moved into ORR shelters, where children receive educational, medical, mental health, and recreational services until they can be unified with families or sponsors without undue delay.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott responded quickly, saying the “Biden Administration continues to show that it is dangerously unprepared to handle the surge in illegal border crossings as they rush to open yet another facility for unaccompanied minors in Texas.”
The governor directed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to ensure the facility has safe drinking water.
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HHS recently opened facilities in Carrizo Springs and Midland, Texas to address the overcrowding in Border Patrol facilities designed only for the temporary detention of adult migrants. HHS is also temporarily sheltering UACs at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. The moves come as the Biden administration struggles to deal with seemingly uncontrollable levels of illegal entries at the southern border with Mexico
In a written statement released late Saturday, Governor Abbott said:
As this humanitarian crisis grows along our southern border, the Biden Administration continues to dodge questions that Texans are demanding answers for: Is the federal government tracking what countries these children are coming from and what COVID-19 variants they might have been exposed to? How long will these children be held in Texas? The Biden Administration’s refusal to secure our border, investigate the origins and potential trafficking of unaccompanied minors, and protect these vulnerable children will only worsen the situation and put innocent lives at risk. President Biden must act now to end this crisis.”
According to law enforcement sources, the latest effort by HHS to shelter more UACs may still not be enough. Sources in the Rio Grande Valley report over two thousand migrants per day were apprehended on three separate days last week. The same source, not authorized to speak on the matter, indicated 400-600 of those apprehensions per day were unaccompanied minors.
This latest announcement comes as the Biden administration received harsh criticism from Texas Governor Greg Abbott concerning the inhumane conditions at some of the other shelters recently opened in his state.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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