“The good news is that they listened,” Democrat Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas said of Health and Human Services officials. Ms. Garcia, a former social worker, said she saw red flags in the Houston Shelter, a renovated warehouse, before it opened. About 500 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 years were to be accommodated in the scheme. Ms Garcia said the facility did not have enough bathrooms and no clear space for children to eat or entertain.
“They were concerned about the children. They were concerned about their care – every single one of them,” Ms. Garcia said of the officers with whom she spoke. The Shelter opened on 1 April and closed on 17 April. “They were not going to put children at risk.”
Ms Escobar, whose district includes the largest emergency shelter in the health and human services network at Fort Bliss, said she quickly expressed concern about the conditions. And on Friday’s visit there, she said she saw significant improvement six weeks ago.
But, she said, “There are still some things that are not acceptable to me.”
For one, the staff could not answer some of Ms. Escobar’s questions, such as how long the children had been living there. She said that the children told her that they had been there for 48 days. “It’s unacceptable,” he said.
Ms Escobar also said that the shelter was too large and should be broken into several shelters on the Fort Bliss campus. He said he recently raised this concern about “mega-sites” with Secretary of Health and Human Services Javier Becerra on a call with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Mr. Castro said he shared Ms. Escobar’s concerns, though he dismissed concerns about the size of the shelter and said, during a call with reporters on Monday, how to keep these children when they reached the border Go, there should be a plan for this. .
He also said that the situation at the emergency facilities was not only better than that of the border facilities, but better than what these children were experiencing before being in the hands of the border agents.