DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The number of unaccompanied minors brought to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will reach the maximum level on Wednesday, March 24, according to two Republican members of Congress from North Texas.
U.S. Reps Beth Van Duyne of Irving and Van Taylor of Plano toured the convention center on Tuesday, March 23.
Afterwards, they spoke to reporters.
Van Duyne said, "The word I heard over and over inside the building was crisis."
Van Duyne and Taylor described the conditions inside the convention center and said by the end of the day Wednesday, there will be 2300 teenage boys, mostly between 13 and 17 years old.
Taylor said, "You have 2,300 beds in one room and children are sleeping in cots feet to toe."
Van Duyne and Taylor said as of Tuesday morning, 22 of the unaccompanied minors tested positive for Covid-19, and they're in quarantine.
They said they didn't take photos inside the convention center at the request of Health and Human Services staff running the operation.
But they did say the convention center looks nothing like the photos released by Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas of the overcrowded and cramped federal facility housing migrant teens in Donna, Texas.
Taylor said, "HHS is doing the best they can but they're reeling from the rhetoric that's causing the kind of mass exodus that's coming up on our southern border. It's a humanitarian crisis and those aren't my words. Those are the words of the people inside the facility saying it. This is a crisis level of care."
The government estimates as many as 15,000 unaccompanied minors will illegally make their way into the U.S. by the end of the month, a record.
Congressman Colin Allred, D-Dallas said Tuesday this has been a reoccurring problem for Republican and Democratic Presidents.
"That was made worse by the policies of the Trump administration that in many ways hollowed out our ability to accept these minors and to treat them in as humans a way as possible," said Allred.
Allred said seeking asylum is a legal form of immigration.
He said the U.S. needs to focus on the root causes.
"If we are ever going to get a handle on this crisis, regardless of the administration that's in place or the conditions right now obviously it's during the pandemic, we're going to have to have more stable governments that don't lead to young people and their families feeling like the only option for them is to send them on an extremely dangerous journey."
But Republicans say former President Trump controlled the situation by implementing protocols that had asylum seekers wait in Mexico for their cases to be considered by the U.S.
Van Duyne said President Biden made the situation worse.
"It is the forceful rhetoric from the administration saying come on over. The invitation, the idea that we're somehow going to be able to clothe, feed, give medical support, educate give out checks, to folks who are coming into our country illegally," she said.
More teens will be brought to the convention center in Dallas as those already here are allowed to live with relatives or sponsors here in the U.S.
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