“The excellent news is that they listened,” Consultant Sylvia R. Garcia, Democrat of Texas, mentioned of officers at Well being and Human Companies. Ms. Garcia, a former social employee, mentioned she noticed crimson flags on the Houston shelter, a repurposed warehouse, earlier than it even opened. The plan was to accommodate about 500 women between the ages of 13 and 17. Ms. Garcia mentioned the ability didn’t have sufficient bogs and there was no clear area for the youngsters to eat or for recreation.
“They had been involved concerning the youngsters. They had been involved about their care — each single certainly one of them,” Ms. Garcia mentioned of the officers she spoke with. The shelter opened on April 1 and closed on April 17. “They weren’t going to place kids in danger.”
Ms. Escobar, whose district contains the biggest emergency shelter within the Well being and Human Companies community, at Fort Bliss, mentioned she raised considerations about circumstances early on. And on a go to there on Friday, she mentioned she noticed vital enhancements over six weeks in the past.
However, she mentioned, “there are nonetheless issues that aren’t acceptable to me.”
For one, the employees couldn’t reply a few of Ms. Escobar’s questions, akin to how lengthy kids had been staying there. She mentioned kids instructed her they’d been there for 48 days. “That’s unacceptable,” she mentioned.
Ms. Escobar additionally mentioned the shelter was too massive and must be damaged into a number of shelters on the Fort Bliss campus. She mentioned she raised this concern about “mega-sites” with Xavier Becerra, the secretary of well being and human companies, on a latest name with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Mr. Castro mentioned he shared Ms. Escobar’s considerations, although he dismissed worries concerning the dimension of the shelter and mentioned, throughout a name with reporters on Monday, there needed to be a plan for find out how to home these kids once they arrive on the border.
He additionally mentioned that the circumstances on the emergency amenities weren’t solely higher than these on the border amenities, “however it’s higher than what these youngsters had been experiencing earlier than they had been within the palms” of border brokers.