The Biden administration now plans to use Dallas’ Key Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to temporarily house over 2,000 migrant teenagers. Director of the Dallas Office of Emergency Management Rocky Vaz described the facility as a “decompression center.” It will be housing boys ages 15 to 17. The facility will offer migrant children access to educational, medical, mental health, and recreational services. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the center may begin operation as a migrant shelter on Wednesday, March 17th. All children will be screened for COVID-19 prior to entry.
The decision comes in response to the recent surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. The Department of Health and Human Services has been rushing to open facilities across the country in order to safely care for these children. Minimizing the time spent in US Border Control custody is a priority for the administration, especially as concerns arise over poor living conditions, limited access to sunlight, and overcrowding. In their Tuesday statement, HHS emphasized their goal of resettling children with family and sponsors. They also said they will be “aggressively moving toward the long-term goal of acquiring enough state-licensed beds in our care provider network” to reduce future need for emergency shelters such as this.