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Gov. Abbott asks Vice President Harris to shut down migrant facility in San Antonio

The federally-run facility has about 1,700 unaccompanied minors – all boys – who began arriving on March 29. Gov. Abbott cites allegations of abuse and neglect.

SAN ANTONIO — The above video is from a news conference on April 7.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is asking Vice President and Border Czar Kamala Harris to shut down a federally-run facility for unaccompanied minors in San Antonio. The first of 1,700 migrant children – all boys between 13 and 17 years old – arrived on March 29.

Abbott sent a letter on Friday to Harris demanding that the Biden administration close the location on the grounds of the Freeman Coliseum. He included a memo from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission summarizing "allegations of sexual assault, bullying, understaffing and disregard for COVID-19 protocols within the facility," according to a press release.

The governor's letter in part said:

"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. 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."

The Texas Department of Public Safety formally opened its investigation into abuse allegations at the facility Thursday.

Just last week, Governor Abbott sent another letter to Vice President Harris asking the Biden Administration to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border.

In February, shortly before the influx of border crossings, children spent an average of 37 days in federal custody before they were released to a sponsor or family member.

As of April 8, the federal government said it has yet to discharge a single migrant child from its emergency intake shelter at the Freeman Coliseum grounds in San Antonio.

Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23) issued a statement after visiting the facility on Friday:

“Any allegations of misconduct or abuse must be fully investigated. As a father to six, seeing unaccompanied children is heartbreaking. Any child – no matter their legal status – must be protected against any type of abuse. Freeman Coliseum will be at capacity this weekend. I have three other facilities like this in my district. The border crisis is a humanitarian crisis and will not get better until President Biden works with Congress to find a solution to securing our border.”

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