Federal and local officials continue to work to prepare the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center for thousands of migrant teens as sharply higher numbers of border crossings have severely strained the current capacity to hold youths.
City officials met Monday with local nonprofits and faith groups who have experience helping asylum seekers.
“The process of identifying where they need to get to and how to get them there safely is what will be happening while they are there at the convention center,” said Pastor Rachel Baughman, a member of “Faith Forward Dallas.”
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Baughman said in addition to shelter, the convention center would allow time for the lengthy legal process of seeking asylum to begin and for federal workers to begin to try to locate a next of kin for the teenagers in the United States.
“They are fleeing a harshness that every other refugee in the past, has gone through those same scenarios,” said Domingo Garcia, National President of The League of United Latin American Citizens.
Garcia said it was likely many of the teenagers have experienced varying degrees of both physical and emotional trauma during their journey.
“A lot of them are going to just be needing basic attention – food, shelter and counseling to get them to their families pending their court dates,” Garcia said.
Catholic Charities said it had been in contact with local officials and will offer their help.
If you are interested in volunteering your help to the migrant teens through Catholic Charities, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers will be required to complete a background check and adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.