Texas Relaxes Standards for Housing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children | Law Firm Newswire

Texas Relaxes Standards for Housing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 8, 2014 - After thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children arrived in 2014, Texas has eased standards determining the size and type of facilities that house them.

Tens of thousands of children have entered the United States illegally since October 2013, mostly from Central America. As of the end of July, about 6,300 children were housed in shelters (a reduction from around 7,600 in June).

Numerous non-profit and government agencies have been involved in housing and managing the influx of immigrant children. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has coordinated the response. Disaster relief teams, charities and federally contracted shelters are providing housing, clothing and supplies to the children.

“Housing so many immigrant children is an unprecedented logistical challenge for the state of Texas,” said Annie Banerjee, a Houston-based immigration lawyer.

As opposed to Border Patrol holding cells, where children are held for processing, shelters are less crowded and provide the children with more amenities. At the shelters, children can play and receive education. Children stay at the shelters until they unite with family members or move to long-term foster care to await their immigration court date.

Kyle Janek, executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to lower shelter standards. Standards now align with those that would be in place after a hurricane or other disaster.

The changes allow shelters to increase the number of beds by placing additional children on cots. They allow children to be housed more densely, with less space and fewer sinks, toilets and showers per child. To accompany the loosened sink, toilet and shower standards, the state requires that shelters make a schedule that provides personal hygiene time for each child.

Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139

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