Gov. Abbott declares the increasing influx of migrant children a disaster, giving him sufficient authority to use disaster powers and remove licenses from facilities that shelter minors who have crossed the border.
The Dallas Morning News reports that currently 52 state-licensed general residential operations and child-placing agencies in Texas have contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for undocumented immigrant children, contracting about 200 facilities in 22 states.
A decision that would be effective around September, would immediately force these facilities to stop providing shelter for immigrant children, as this activity requires state licenses in order to apply for federal contracts.
Removing this decentralized solution would eventually shift the load to U.S Customs and Border Protection stations, facilities that have caused worldwide outrage as they are known to be unsuitable for minors.
“The officials, who work for the state Health and Human Services Commission, should then deny any pending applications for new licenses for facilities sheltering “unlawful immigrants” under a federal contract,” said GOP governor Abbott in his executive order.
As the Texas government turns its back to unaccompanied children, the state will most likely enter a housing crisis as foster care providers are forced to withdraw from federal contracts, leaving children without shelter.
“Closing down all licensed placements in Texas for unaccompanied children will displace about 4,000 children and add even more chaos to an already chaotic situation. The order could force providers with substantial expertise to leave the state and put many people out of their jobs” Said Leecia Welch, attorney at the National Center for Youth Law.
“To me, it seems like political theater that is a lose-lose for Texans and for kids” she added.