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Number Of Migrant Kids In Texas Facilities Drops Suddenly

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Southwest Key’s shelter Casa Sunzal is the newest shelter to open in Houston. (Elizabeth Trovall / Houston Public Media)

By Elizabeth Trovall, Houston Public Media

Facilities and foster groups that house migrant teens are at about half capacity in Texas. There are currently some 3,000 migrant kids being held in federal care statewide, according to Texas Health and Human Services. 

That’s 30% fewer children than they had in custody in August, and half the amount from June. 

Some of the shelters are at a quarter of their normal capacity. 

Unaccompanied Minors in Texas
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Dalia Castillo-Granados, director of the American Bar Association’s Children’s Immigration Law Academy in Houston, attributes the drop to seasonal changes and a ramping up of immigration law enforcement in Mexico.  

“There’s also been a lot of pressure on Mexico from the administration to help stop the flow of Central American migrants, so I think Mexico is stepping up its enforcement,” said Castillo-Granados. 

She also said shelters are placing kids at a faster pace, so they’re spending less time in federal care. 

Migrant kids are put in these shelters when they arrive to the U.S. border without a guardian. 

In August, Texas Health and Human Services confirmed that  applications have come in for two new shelters that would hold migrant youth in the Rio Grande Valley, in McAllen and Los Fresnos.

Lutheran Social Services of the South and CHSI are now operating those two new facilities.