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