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Several Southeast Texas facilities could possibly serve as housing for undocumented immigrant children

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - There are several Southeast Texas facilities that could become housing for undocumented immigrant children.

Since October of last year, more than 47,000 children have crossed the border into the United States alone, mainly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.  That number could reach 90,000 by September.

As we first reported last week, the former Al Price Juvenile Detention Center on Highway 69 in Jefferson County is being considered as housing.

Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas is spearheading the effort and has sent the proposal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

If FEMA agrees to that facility, it would enter into negotiations with Jefferson County Commissioners to lease the facility, but if it doesn't work out, there have been other suggestions.

One suggestion is the old Renaissance Hospital in Groves, and Catholic Charities also plans to talk to the Beaumont Independent School District, which might have facilities to lease as it deals with its financial crisis.

A spokesperson for Catholic Charities said FEMA is looking to initially lease housing for the immigrants for four months.  The Al Price Center could possibly house 300 children.

The president of Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas, Carolyn Fernandez, said she understands the current immigration system problems need to be fixed, but she said right now the immediate concern should be the children.

Fernandez said, "The children are here on our doorstep, and so I just can't imagine you turn a child away and not help, and not treat them with care and compassion."


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