1000’s are flooding migrant heart in north Houston, officers say

HOUSTON – After a slow June and a July pick-up, thousands of migrants show up at the family transfer center in north Houston.

Officials said a total of 233 people were taken from the border to the center by NGOs in June. That was far less than they expected.

Three times as many came in July, a total of 683.

But in the first two weeks of August 3,253 people came through the makeshift facility.

“That wasn’t to be expected,” said Carlos Villarreal, who heads the facility. “That was a good stress test. This enabled us to know where we can improve in helping the migrants. “

The center quickly used up its large supplies of food, clothing, and hygiene kits, but they were quickly replenished.

“Towards the end of July, when we saw the rise in COVID, we decided to only help migrants who had been tested along the border and had negative evidence,” said Villarreal.

KPRC 2 met a family in the center who had taken a bus from Guatemala to the Texas-Mexico border.

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“Because there aren’t enough job opportunities there,” says Marco Antonio in Spanish, who is sitting next to his wife Lilian and their daughters Caterine and Darlene. “We left our parents and other relatives, but we thought about the future of our daughters.”

The family said the 1,600-mile journey took 12 days.

“We are almost without exception happy to be here,” said Villarreal, “we are grateful to be here. We want to contribute to it. “

The family transfer center only accepts migrant families, usually for 24 hours or less. A pit stop on the way to meet family and friends in the US.

Antonio and his family travel to Pennsylvania where a friend offered him a job.

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