border crisis

Gov. Greg Abbott Asks Federal Government to Shutdown San Antonio Facility Housing Unaccompanied Children

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Friday sent a letter to Vice President and Border Czar Kamala Harris

Picture of Texas Governor Greg Abbott
NBC 5 News

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris demanding the Biden Administration shut down the federally-run unaccompanied minor holding facility in San Antonio amid disturbing allegations about what's going on inside the shelter.

Earlier in the week, Abbott said someone inside the facility said they'd been sexually abused while others said they'd been bullied.

Abbott said at a news conference that he quickly arranged outside the facility Wednesday evening that there were other allegations of insufficient staffing, children not eating and those who tested positive for COVID-19 not being separated.

For weeks, Abbott has joined Republicans in criticizing the Biden administration for the handling of the migration challenges at the U.S. southern border.

The federally run unaccompanied minor facility houses over 1,600 teens.

Harris was recently appointed Border Czar after Roberta Jacobson stepped down following 100 days on the job.

"The State of Texas previously warned about overcrowded conditions at these facilities, and now those conditions have led to allegations of child abuse and neglect," reads the Governor's letter. "Our repeated warnings and questions have gone ignored by President Biden, yourself, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas. In your role as Border Czar, you have a duty to these children and the American people to act immediately. I implore you to act immediately to protect these children, secure the border, and end this crisis."

After announcing the allegations of abuse at the San Antonio facility earlier in the week, Abbott is waiting for answers and action from the Biden Administration to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS), meanwhile, released the following statement in response:

"HHS takes its humanitarian mission seriously and while unaccompanied migrant children are in our care under the law, we strive to provide a safe space while they go through immigration proceedings. HHS has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior at all UC care provider facilities. We will continue investigating any incidents affecting children's health, well-being and safety and will take the proper measures including initiating employee disciplinary action, termination, and reporting to appropriate investigative entities, such as law enforcement agencies and relevant licensing bodies." 

Requests from NBC News to go inside the facility have been denied.

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