One possible detention center location is Terrell Middle School. Federal officials toured the school to see if it would be a suitable detention center for the unaccompanied minors coming here from Central America. Neighbor Bernadette Lancelin says not just no but heck no...
“It's not right. Billions of dollars are going to be borrowed from the White House to feed and house them. What about the goddamn kids here? In our neighborhoods? In our country?”
Terrell hasn't served as a school for over a decade.. and the district declared it surplus in 2013. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says it and other possible location haven't been declared as a detention centers.. at least not yet.
“These are only sites that are being reviewed. There has been no determination. There had been no commitment, no confirmation.”
But the feds are scrambling to do something and quickly. According to uncontroversial at the time it was passed Wilberforce Law.. unaccompanied minors caught entering the country illegally have the right to thorough vetting and a detention hearing. The idea was to get children out of the hands of human traffickers. The system is now overwhelmed.
Many cities are fighting having these detention centers.. critics wonder who will pay for them.. and worry about the spread of disease from the unvaccinated kids. So what's Houston's official position?
The official word from the Parker Administration today is no comment. They say this is a federal program and the school is HISD property. The city is not involved.
But some Houstonians think it's time for the city to take a stand one way or the other about a possible detention center here at Terrell or elsewhere....
“I think they should take a stand on it. How can you be neutral on it.” said Jonathan Slade
“I think it's a good thing for them to step in and say something whether it's for or against.” Said Adrian Rocha
Last week the mayor said the feds have not asked the city to get involved.