Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said President Joe Biden’s immigration policies are incentivizing unaccompanied minors to travel to the U.S. border, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Abbott visited the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, where thousands of migrant teenagers will be held temporarily beginning this week, The Dallas Morning News reported. Abbott said he plans to investigate whether the migrants traveling to the border are brought through human trafficking and described the situation at the southern border as a crisis.
“I urge President Biden: Do not traumatize these children by enticing them to make this trek,” Abbott said, The Dallas Morning News reported. “The Biden administration opened the floodgates … They were completely unprepared for this.”
“We have an obligation to pursue all crimes against children” DPS director McCraw says. Challenge is IDing indicators of abuse/trafficking/etc. Important to pursue those things to ensure no crimes committed.#txlege
— Wes Rapaport (@wesrap) March 17, 2021
Abbott said he wants to discuss human trafficking with the teenagers, The Dallas Morning News reported. He accused the Biden administration of “enticing” migrants to travel to the U.S. where minors could be vulnerable to “traffickers, to abuse and to terror.”
“America needs to know how these children — some are young children — are coming across the border and who is helping them come across the border,” Abbott said, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The convention center will function as a “decompression center” holding up to 3,000 unaccompanied minor males aged 15 to 17 as the Department of Health and Human Services works to place them with sponsors in the U.S., The Dallas Morning News reported. American Red Cross volunteers will staff the convention center where migrants will have access to medical care, food and security, the Associated Press reported.
“The children are unaccompanied minors, ages 15-17, who were being kept in small holding cells at the border not designed to incarcerate people for more than a few hours,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said, The Dallas Morning News reported. “The transfer to a temporary facility at the convention center will provide opportunities for exercise and socialization for children who have already faced incredible trauma.”
Jenkins said the federal government leased the convention center for a “humanitarian operation,” though he did not disclose how much the city of Dallas is being paid for the deal.
Neither Abbott or Jenkins responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.