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A temporary detainment center for unaccompanied migrant teens in San Antonio that’s under investigation for child abuse is nearly at capacity just over a week after opening, reports said Thursday.
The Freeman Expo Center, which opened on March 29 and is designed to hold 2,100 unaccompanied migrant male teens between the ages of 13 and 17, already had 1,370 kids in its care as of Monday, KSAT reported.
“Too many people coming in. Not enough people going out,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told the outlet Wednesday.
“Right now we are facing a humanitarian crisis and I do use the word crisis.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a news conference Tuesday asking President Biden to close the facility after the Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received serious child abuse complaints related to the center.
“In short, this facility is a health and safety nightmare. The Biden administration is now presiding over the abuse of children,” Abbott told reporters.
The Republican governor said the complaints included child sex abuse, understaffing, unfed children and a failure to separate kids with COVID-19 from healthy children and is a product of the Biden administration’s poor attempts to prepare for the influx.
Child-on-child sex abuse was an issue at various shelters and in foster families during the last influx of migrant children to the country in 2019 and tends to happen when large amounts of kids are sheltering together with little supervision.
Unaccompanied children who cross the border can only stay in US Customs and Border Protection custody for 72 hours, but their processing stations have been stuffed well beyond capacity, forcing the creation of overflow facilities like the Freeman Expo Center.
The center is managed by HHS’ Administration for Children and Families and is supposed to be a temporary shelter while federal officials work to link the kids up with family they have in the US or foster families willing to take them in. Many kids have reportedly stayed way beyond the maximum three days.
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