On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for the federal government to close a San Antonio facility that is allegedly housing more than 1,300 immigrant teens, citing reports of sexual abuse and other malfeasance.
The governor spoke in front of the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, from which the allegations have arisen, and cited four accusations that were reported to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The allegations include the following:
- Children being sexually assaulted.
- Not ample staff to safely supervise the children.
- Children not eating throughout the day.
- Children with COVID-19 not being physically separated from those without COVID-19.
“In short, this facility is a health and safety nightmare,” Gov. Abbott stated.
The governor went on to directly call for the Biden administration to close the facility to “end this abuse.” As an alternative, Gov. Abbott suggested the administration move the children in the Freeman Coliseum to other federally run facilities that are better able to care for the migrant teens.
The coliseum is normally a sports and concert venue. However, the federal government has repurposed it in recent days to help deal with the surging number of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. Southern Border. Currently, more than 1,300 migrant children are being held there.
“The Biden administration caused this crisis and has repeatedly failed to address it. [They] opened borders… [and] failed to plan for the influx of children that they invited to come… This must end,” the governor added.
Gov. Abbott also said that he was directing the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to begin an investigation into the allegations.
In response to the growing border crisis, in March, Gov. Abbott surged tactical assets to the border to help cope with the situation. Operation Lone Star includes air, ground, Marine, and tactical border security assets targeting Mexican drug cartels and other smugglers.
In recently released numbers from March 2021, the number of unaccompanied alien minors (UACs) hit the highest number in history. In just one month, almost 19,000 unaccompanied children entered U.S. custody via the southern border. The previous high came in May 2019 when almost 12,000 unaccompanied minors entered U.S. custody.
The journey to the United States is perilous, with one study from Amnesty International finding that “between 60 percent and 80 percent of female migrants traveling through Mexico are raped along the way.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, “Women migrating from Central America to the United States also take contraception to prevent pregnancy in the event of rape, indicating they are fully aware of the risk of assault—yet still choose to undertake the journey.”
The dire risks faced by immigrants, specifically children and women, who attempt to make the dangerous journey to the United States, should elicit empathy and compassion from all Christians, who affirm the dignity and value of every human life.
While the solutions to the current border crisis are not simple or easy, Christians should pray for those in positions of influence in our government to use their power to secure the border, and protect and defend those most in need.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
Photo from POOL/REUTERS