On Monday (March 29), the Biden Administration announced it would be sending more than 2,000 migrant children who have recently crossed the U.S. / Mexico border to San Antonio for shelter.
According to NBC News, the first group of 13 to 17-year-old teenage boys were set to be transported Monday evening to the Freeman Coliseum Expo Center, which will serve as an Emergency Intake Site (EIS). There, the children will be given a medical screening, food, clothing, toiletries and a safe place to rest.
The Freeman Coliseum is a center where sporting events, concerts and the city’s annual rodeo take place. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the center has the capacity for 2,100 beds.
“You want to do what is best for the kids,” J. Antonio Fernandez, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio CEO, told NBC News. “You are trying to be respectful and I’m trying to think of everything.”
Catholic Charities is currently vetting hundreds of volunteers who have come forward to help with the arrival of the teens. In 2018, the nonprofit helped reunite some of the undocumented immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy.
Along with San Antonio, other cities and towns in Texas serving as an EIS include Dallas, Midland, Pecos, Carrizo Springs, Dimmit, Fort Bliss and others. Other cities outside the state like San Diego are also stepping up. The Biden Administration is also looking to add another EIS at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio soon.
“HHS will maintain custody and responsibility for the well-being and support for these children at all times on the installation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.