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US to house up to 3,000 immigrant teens at Dallas convention center site

Virus Outbreak Texas
Posted at 2:10 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 16:10:46-04

DALLAS — The U.S. government will use the downtown Dallas convention center to hold up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers as sharply higher numbers of border crossings have severely strained the current capacity to hold youths.

During a White House briefing Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the administration is facing a "big problem" on the US-Mexico border. More than 4,000 unaccompanied minors are in Border Patrol custody.

Once in Border Patrol custody, they are supposed to be turned over to Health and Human Services, however because of coronavirus pandemic safety measures, capacity at HHS facilities have been limited.

“We recognize this is a big problem. The last administration left us a dismantled and unworkable system, and like any other problem, we're going to do everything we can to solve it," Psaki told reporters Monday.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will be used for up to 90 days beginning as early as this week.

That's according to written notification sent to members of the Dallas City Council and provided to The Associated Press. The memo says federal agencies will use the facility to house boys ages 15 to 17.

The memo describes the soon-to-open site as a “decompression center.”