Downtown Houston may soon be the home of the first residential center in the nation that detains children as young as 18 months-old, without their relatives or other foster parents.
Before President Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute parents who cross the border illegally, most “unaccompanied minors” were released to family or other sponsors already in the country. Most of the children were between 10 and 17 years-old.
Now, the small children are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, under the Department of Health and Human Services. Officials of Southwest Key Programs, a Texas nonprofit that has a lucrative contract with the federal government to care for thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children, confirmed Friday it has signed a lease with the owner of a warehouse at 419 Emancipation Ave. Advocates who care for such children said they were informed by the government his week that the facility would focus on this population.
The warehouse, in downtown Houston, formerly housed women and families who were once homeless and adults displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Read “Immigrant children’s shelter considered for downtown Houston” in the Houston Chronicle.