The National Association of Christian Churches (NACC) is stepping up and partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Refugee Resettlement to care for the thousands of unaccompanied minors being transferred away from the southern border. The shortage of beds for migrants is spurring cooperation between charity organizations and the government to provide beds and provisions.
The emergency shelter’s location is not being disclosed. Pastor Jesus Ortega, the leader of NACC is organizing the effort. On Thursday 500 minors were moved into the facility, with a total of an additional 1,300 expected to arrive soon. This shelter is an example of recently created housing options announced by HHS on Monday to house migrant children. Over 18,000 unaccompanied children are reported to be in custody and there continues to be a shortage of beds and places for shelter. NACC and HHS are remaining quiet about any details about this newly opened shelter in Houston.
Unaccompanied minors are apprehended by border patrol agents and then transferred to HHS. Relatives or guardians are attempted to be found to take custody of the minors. The situation is out of control at the southern border and is ripe for exploitation. Coyotes and drug cartels are making a lot of money off of the Biden administration’s self-inflicted crisis at the border. Adults know that if children can reach the border and cross over into the U.S., they will be allowed to stay. Charity organizations and non-profits are trying to handle some of the shortages of the federal government.
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, praised the efforts of the organization and its leader, Pastor Jesus Ortega, in helping to house the immigrant children.
“We are grateful that community leaders like Pastor Ortega have stepped forward to provide a safe place for children and youth,” said Jackson Lee.
The congresswoman also noted the importance of protecting the privacy of the children while they are in Houston in an undisclosed emergency shelter run by the National Association of Christian Churches.
The shelter is supposed to be only temporary and COVID-19 mitigation measures are said to be put in place. All minors arriving at the facility are tested for the virus.
One local volunteer describes the situation as an “all hands on deck” approach in crisis management.
Desiree Salinas with Houston Catholic Charities is helping dozens of migrant children, families, and asylum seeking immigrants here in Houston.
She expects the number of migrants needing help to continue to rise, so they’re ramping up resources.
“All hands on deck kind of redistributing some resources, refocusing some different staff,” she said.
In March Governor Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to “help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas.” The operation also includes anti-human trafficking efforts. The governor is extending the program and gave an update Thursday.
Abbott was joined by Texas Department of Public Safety director Col. Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of Texas Tracy Norris, members of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and local law enforcement.
During the news conference, Abbott said the operation has led to nearly 600 arrests. The arrests included a stash house search where authorities found illegal immigrants and a gang member who is wanted in connection with the sexual assault of a child.
Officials have also arrested several smugglers who Abbott said are connected to child pornography, sexual assault and physical abuse. Abbott said Texas DPS officials have been able to save children and others from violent criminals thanks to the operation.
Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris has visited the border since they came into office and put a halt to practices in place at the border that were working. There seems to be no urgency at all about the humanitarian crisis playing out every day with thousands of migrants. Analysts say the migrant crisis of 2021 is on pace to break all previous records with more than 600 minors arriving daily at the southern border. Most are teenagers seeking asylum. There are simply not enough licensed shelters or foster homes to house those without known U.S. connections until their asylum process is completed.