‘San Antonio is glad to be helpful’: Leaders speak as city welcomes migrant children

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff spoke to the press after their tour of the new emergency shelter at the Freeman Coliseum for migrant children Tuesday evening.

San Antonio received its first group of migrant children at 1:30 am Tuesday, Bexar County officials confirmed.

“We wanted to come and make sure that the kids are being treated humanely,” Castro said of the group’s visit.

Though Castro said a shelter isn’t an ideal situation for children, he described conditions as better than in crowded detention facilities. He said the children at Freeman were being treated well.

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The Texas representative was also adamant in his assertion that migrant kids would not willingly make a long trek to the border if they weren’t facing dire situations in their home countries. “It’s not something they’re doing as summer camp activity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nirenberg thanked the community for coming together to help children and thanked volunteers who have showed up to donate time, resources and food.

“Here in San Antonio once again we’re finding the care and compassion to give back,” Nirenberg said to reporters.

Judge Wolff said the boys — who are aged 13 to 17 — were given new shoes and jeans, as well as time to play soccer outdoors. He too thanked the outpour of volunteers.

“San Antonio is glad to be helpful and step up,” Wolff said.

Wolff and Castro said boys in the group who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being quarantined and treated by medical staff.

As reporters questioned the leaders, Castro also pivoted to attacking the Trump administration’s immigration and foreign policy.

“The Trump administration operated with a dark heart,” he said.

Citing the Trump administration’s freeze of aid to Central American countries, he praised the Biden administration for what he described as a  rebuilding of capacity for asylum seekers in the United States.

When questioned on how long the shelter might operate, Judge Wolff said migrants will be staying at the shelter until at least May 30.


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