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Recently Opened Houston Shelter for 500 Teen Migrant Girls Abruptly Closed and Evacuated After Volunteer Dies Amid Literal Warehousing of Children

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A shelter for migrant teenage girls with capacity for 500 children that opened at the start of April in Houston, Texas was abruptly shut down Saturday by the federal government which moved to evacuate the approximately 450 girls living in crowded literal warehouse conditions after a volunteer died there Friday night. The shelter was run by the National Association of Christian Churches in Houston.

Screen image via KHOU-TV of evacuation buses.

Buses arriving in early April:

Good morning, unaccompanied migrant children have started arriving at the NACC in North Houston.

3 buses arrived at 5:50 am this morning

3 more came around 2:20 this morning

The first bus arrived on Friday just after 6pm

The facility is providing everything for the children. pic.twitter.com/sMQ5GWEnws

— Re’Chelle Turner (@KPRC2ReChelle) April 3, 2021

Journalist Lomi Kriel posted about the abrupt move and death of the volunteer, “[email protected] is suddenly closing an emergency influx site in Houston just weeks after it opened, reunifying 130 of the 450 minor girls with family and transferring the rest to other ORR facilities. It did not say what had prompted this.”

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.@HHSGov is suddenly closing an emergency influx site in Houston just weeks after it opened, reunifying 130 of the 450 minor girls with family and transferring the rest to other ORR facilities. It did not say what had prompted this. pic.twitter.com/HRxfYeSb7c

— lomikriel (@lomikriel) April 17, 2021

Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, in spin mode, told Kiel a volunteer died at the shelter Friday night, “[email protected]

says a federal volunteer at the facility died after falling ill at the facility last night from an unrelated issue and that the transfers were already in the works. Said she had seen ‘nothing untoward there’ on her tours. (*clarified this)”

.@JacksonLeeTX18 says a federal volunteer at the facility died after falling ill at the facility last night from an unrelated issue and that the transfers were already in the works. Said she had seen ‘nothing untoward there’ on her tours. (*clarified this)

— lomikriel (@lomikriel) April 17, 2021

KTRK-TV reported on a press conference held Saturday afternoon by an activist group that said the facility was unfit for children (excerpt):

Representatives from local non-profit, FIEL Houston, held a press conference Saturday afternoon and exposed the conditions of the facility.

Executive director of FIEL, Ceaser Espinosa, said the conditions inside the warehouse were ‘inappropriate for anyone, especially young girls’, who range in age from 13-17 years old. He added that employees of the facility would only let the teens get out of their cots a few times a day to shower and use the restroom.

Fiel member Alan Cisnero said while he was out with his family on Friday night, he noticed a large amount of first responders arriving to the facility. He said he then proceeded to see what the issue was, however officials told him they couldn’t share much information regarding who was involved in the incident.

Espinosa added that the facility actually had 500 girls on roster at the time of Friday night’s incident, meaning they were right at capacity. Due to the amount of girls, he said they were unable to properly social distance inside the warehouse.

KTRK video report:

Children all gone from the warehouse Saturday afternoon.

We’re told all the unaccompanied minors are gone now from the NACC Houston Emergency intake site. The NACC pastor says he will absolutely open again if anyone needs shelter. More details on the transfer on @KHOU at 10. pic.twitter.com/MCkFX0VmDA

— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) April 18, 2021

Flashback: Kamala Harris vowing in 2019 if she were in the White House she would “shut down the private detention facilities” for migrant children. Harris called the treatment of the children by “a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government.” Harris said “we will not allow this to happen–not on our watch.”

Detaining these children at the border is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government. pic.twitter.com/aKDfadLDp4

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019

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