Immigration officials are dealing with a growing number of minor children trying to cross the Texas border by themselves, and are taking drastic steps to deal with it.
An emergency shelter is being set up at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio. Wendy Young of Kids In Need Of Defense (KIND) told KTRH the problem is bigger than you realize.
“Houston is one of the main destination sites for these children. Each year the numbers grow significantly. This year we’re on track for 60,000 children. The numbers are growing by the week,” Young said.
Why are these kids coming here? Immigration lawyer Gordon Quan told KTRH it’s because of other family members that have left their children to fend for themselves in their home countries.
“Parents have left their families behind. These kids have found that the only way they can be reunited with their parents is to try and find them in the United States,” Quan explained.
Quan says the kids will stay at the shelter until family members can be found here to take them in. But it's not a given they'll stay.
“The government is sensitive to the fact these are minors, but at the same time they shouldn’t be a burden on the government forever,” Quan stated.
Lackland was used two years ago for the same reason, something that Young says Governor Rick Perry objected to.
“There’s concern that a military base is being used for this purpose,” Young said.
Quan said the Governor was also worried about setting a precedent.
“The Governor was worried it would encourage others to do the same,” Quan said.
And Perry might have been right, because the problem has only gotten worse since 2012.