With Congress heading back after its traditional summer break, the crisis that has been taking place on the southern border continues to be one of its top priorities. The majority of this debate concerns how to deal with the thousands of unaccompanied immigrant minors currently awaiting immigration hearings.
The federal government has now released additional information regarding the housing of many of these immigrant minors. The Office of Refugee Resettlement says that almost 30,000 unaccompanied minors were sent to sponsored homes to live between January 1st and and July 31st this year. 2,866 of these minors ‒ the highest figure in the whole of the United States ‒ were sent to homes in Harris County.
Sponsors are defined by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as “adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being”, with the immigrant minors generally remaining in these homes until a court has determined their immigration status. “Houston and Harris County are generous, the citizens here have generous hearts,” says Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.
Lee favors the passing of a funding package worth more than $1bn to take care of the minors who are still waiting for their immigration hearings and pay for extra border security and overtime. She says: “We are defined in this country by how we take care of our children so I think it’s imperative that we, first of all, pass the $1.8 billion. We have a responsibility to give these children due process.”