March 16, 2021
The federal government plans to house up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers at a convention center in downtown Dallas as it struggles to find housing for a surge of migrants at the border who have strained the immigration system just two months into the Biden administration.
Authorities encountered people crossing the border without legal status more than 100,000 times in February — a level higher than all but four months of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The spike in illegal crossings poses a significant challenge to President Joe Biden, who has called on Congress to take up immigration legislation and asked for help from the American Red Cross.
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will be used for up to 90 days beginning as early as this week, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press that was sent Monday to members of the Dallas City Council.
Federal agencies will use the facility to house boys ages 15 to 17, according to the memo, which describes the soon-to-open site as a “decompression center.”
Asked about housing migrant teens at the convention center, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the administration has been looking for additional facilities for unaccompanied children but that she would have to look into the specifics of the arrangement in Dallas.