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New details emerge about migrant child holding facility planned for west El Paso

EL PASO, Texas -- After ABC-7 first reported last week on a new migrant holding facility being created in west El Paso that is intended to house children, new details emerged Monday about it.

The non-profit BCFS organization that operates through the U.S. Department of Health and Human services tells ABC-7 that the facility will specifically house unaccompanied girls between the ages of 12-17. Younger girls may also be housed there, if they are part of the same family unit as their siblings.

"Health and Human Services does have the need for shelters across the county for unaccompanied minors that cross across the border and these are operating 24/7. The home is temporary for the unaccompanied youth that are crossing the border," said Evy Ramos, a spokesperson for BCFS.

The new migrant facility in west El Paso is being prepared for opening, with the interior being redone as workers convert what was once an Alzheimer's facility. Ramos tells ABC-7 since the facility already has living quarters, they will be able to accommodate children quicker, and house them more comfortably.

BCFS tells ABC-7 the facility is designed to provide all necessary resources to the underage migrant girls that will live there.

"The facility is fully self-contained, so they receive education on site, they receive health care services mental health on site, legal services on site. So everything is self-sufficient at the facility for the duration of their stay," Ramos said.

The girls on average will be staying at the facility for 30 days, while their cases get processed and their sponsors get vetted. The facility will be able to house up to 104 girls, however BCFS tells ABC-7 they plan on operating at 50% capacity due to Covid-19. BCFS has been contracted by the federal government to operate this facility for at least the next fiscal year.

Neighbors have raised concerns about this facility, primarily concerned about how it could impact their property values. BCFS tells ABC-7 the other migrant facility they operate has been nothing but respectful to its surrounding neighbors.

"We are good neighbors. All of our facilities that we have we've always had great relationship with our neighbors and any concerns that may have risen during construction are quickly put at ease when we are able to reach out and have that relationship with the neighbors," Ramos said.

About 200 jobs will be available at the facility. BCFS said it has already hired the director of the facility, who is a UTEP alumnus. The positions are open, and anyone interested in applying should follow this link.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.


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