Biden’s administration plans to host 3,000 migrant teens at a convention center in Dallas. Washington is battling to find facilities to accommodate the surge of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States.
The site, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, will house 15 to 17-year-old boys for 90 days. Washington sent a memo regarding the issue to the Dallas City Council, calling the site a “decompression center.”
The memo states that the Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are responsible for taking care of the migrants’ shelter, food, cleaning, medical care, and security at the site. Jaime Resendez, Dallas City Council member, said that even though the city bears no financial responsibility, it should show compassion towards the teens who are having a hard time.
“I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care… Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
Republicans have blasted President Biden for the immigration crisis. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has blamed it on Biden’s policies over the past two months. Once president, Biden suspended several security policies implemented by former President Trump. Those security measures restricted illegal crossing into the United States. Biden has also announced a citizenship path for 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.
The president is expected to end a 2018 Trump policy that enabled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities to investigate Americans who sponsor children held at HHS shelters.
A Biden deputy said that such sponsor families would no longer have to face government scrutiny. But many fear that Biden’s new policy will only increase illegal immigration and the smuggling of teenage workers for jobs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may temporarily block 16 and 17-year-olds from entering the United States through the Trump-era Title 42 policy. The proposal was challenged by a coalition of 49 progressive groups calling the suggestion illegal and inhumane.
“We are ready and willing to support the Biden Administration’s efforts to ensure that all these children have access to safe shelter and care until their parents or another trusted adult can be identified. We will oppose any efforts to enact policies that do not comply with the TVPRA and result in the expulsion of unaccompanied children without any opportunity to seek protection,” the letter stated.
The House of Representatives will soon vote on two immigration bills that previously were not heard in the Senate when Republicans had control. Democrats now have a slim majority in the Senate and are vying to get the bills passed.
The American Dream and Promise Act, sponsored by Democrat Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, will provide a pathway to citizenship to individuals who had come to the United States illegally as children. This bill is expected to benefit 4.4 million illegal immigrants currently residing in America. The second bill, Farm Workforce Modernization Act, seeks to provide legal status to illegal immigrant agricultural workers. This bill is co-sponsored by a Republican member of the house.