Housing Immigrant Kids in North Texas Costing Millions - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Housing Immigrant Kids in North Texas Costing Millions



    Reporters Allowed Inside Immigrant Children Facility

    Reporters were allowed tour the facility that is housing unaccompanied minors in Ellis County. (Published Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015)

    The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. - Mexico border has soared with over 10,000 children apprehended in the last two months.

    That’s a 106 percent increase from this same time last year, according to U.S. Border Patrol and Customs.

    Many are fleeing violence, gangs and poor living conditions in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

    Others come to reunite with relatives already here.

    This month, the Department of Health and Human Services opened two temporary shelters in North Texas to house the teens since there is no more shelter space in South Texas.

    The Lakeview Camp in Ellis County started housing the children last week.

    A camp in Rockwall County will start taking in close to 300 kids on Friday.

    Tuesday afternoon, NBC 5 was given a tour of the facility. Cameras were not allowed inside for the safety of the minors, some of whom have been victims of crimes, according to Andrea Helling with DHHS.

    The children are allowed use of 400 acres of land. They sleep in bunk bed-styled cabins with heat and air conditioning.

    They are also separated by age and gender.

    Outside, the kids are rotated to play soccer, basketball and football. Inside, they watch movies and do arts and crafts.

    The cost of this three week operation runs into the millions.

    DHHS cares for children detained by Border Patrol and contracts shelter operations, in this case to a San Antonio charity BCFS.

    The non-profit told NBC 5 on this particular case BCFS has been allotted $12.9 million.

    That money covers up to 1,400 teens.

    The money also covers case management workers, food, lodging, health screenings and mental health evaluations.

    First responders, operational and housing staff are also paid for, as well as, inbound and outbound transportation.

    The people who run Lakeview Camp will also get paid.

    "Our cost of operation to have somebody on the camp averages between $59 and $65, sometime as high as $70, depending on events they participate in,” said Rick Dubose the Superintendent for the North Texas District of Assemblies of God. “We cut a base rate for this to cover these kids at $60 a day per kid, which is cheaper than going to Motel 6, plus we give three meals and 2 snacks."

    The teens will stay a maximum of 21 days at the camp. From there, they will be placed with family members on the condition they appear for immigration court proceedings.

    The others will be deported.

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