Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called for the federal government to close a San Antonio facility that is being used to house unaccompanied migrant children after became aware of allegations of sexual assault. He has also ordered a state investigation and is calling for a federal investigation for the alleged sexual assaults taking place at the temporary shelter.
Abbott made the declaration at a press conference on Wednesday evening, after tipsters made claims of sexual assault and possible Covid-19 exposure inside the Freeman Expo Center. The facility is currently holding 1,370 migrant children. However, that's not where Abbott stopped. He also said that President Joe Biden should shoulder the blame of child abuse and neglect at the overcrowded temporary shelter.
Abbott said there are multiple claims of sexual assault and Covid-19 concerns, but what he wants now is for the San Antonio site to be closed immediately and launch an investigation. During the press conference, Abbott said at least two state agencies received tips that migrant children are being sexually abused and exposed to disease at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
"This facility is a health and safety nightmare. The Biden administration is now presiding over the abuse of children. To end this abuse, the Biden administration must immediately shut down this facility," he said.
However, sex abuse isn't the only allegation revolving around this temporary shelter. Abbott also claimed that there were reports that the facility was understaffed and children were not eating. Moreover, there is also failure to separate children with or without coronavirus. "While we wait on the Biden administration to act, I'm directing DPS and Texas Rangers to immediately begin investigation these allegations," Abbott declared.
Pointing fingers at Biden
The announcement came as Texas and the federal government is locked in battle over a recent increase in the number of migrants crossing the state's southern border. It's not clear how many children had reportedly been abused, but Abbott said that the claims appeared to be "credible."
The number of migrant children has surged rapidly at the Freeman Expo Center reaching 1,370 from 500 in just weeks. However, Biden has refused to accept that surge in illegal border crossing is a crisis and has instead asked Vice President Kamala Harris to take control of the situation.
The White House Wednesday, prior to these allegations, reiterated it's looking for more facilities to accommodate children coming across the border. On Tuesday, nearly 750 unaccompanied minors were detained.
The Expo Center reportedly has an internal potential capacity of 2,100 beds, and officials are struggling to make them available. That's mainly because of coronavirus which demands social distancing. Biden has come under fire for dismantling harsh Trump immigration policies, which has prompted a surge of migrants at the southern border but no concrete measures have been adopted to streamline things so far.