“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 deal with about 500 women between the ages of 13 and 17. Ms. Garcia mentioned the power didn’t have sufficient loos and there was no clear house for the youngsters to eat or for recreation.
“They have been involved in regards to the youngsters. They have been involved about their care — each single considered 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 youngsters in danger.”
Ms. Escobar, whose district contains the most important 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 important enhancements over six weeks in the past.
However, she mentioned, “there are nonetheless issues that aren’t acceptable to me.”
For one, the workers couldn’t reply a few of Ms. Escobar’s questions, akin to how lengthy youngsters have been staying there. She mentioned youngsters advised her they’d been there for 48 days. “That’s unacceptable,” she mentioned.
Ms. Escobar additionally mentioned the shelter was too large 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 in regards to the dimension of the shelter and mentioned, 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 mentioned that the circumstances on the emergency services weren’t solely higher than these on the border services, “nevertheless it’s higher than what these youngsters have been experiencing earlier than they have been within the arms” of border brokers.