Unaccompanied migrant children arrive at second San Antonio emergency shelter at JBSA-Lackland

Officials say 100 boys, between the ages of 13 and 17, will be housed at the facility

SAN ANTONIO – Federal officials announced Saturday the opening of a second emergency shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in San Antonio.

The second shelter will be at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, which has 372 beds. This is a fraction of the space being used at the Freeman Coliseum shelter in East Bexar County, which is housing an estimated 1,800 migrant children.

According to an announcement from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 100 boys, between the ages of 13 and 17, will arrive at the intake site.

The federal agency said the children would “receive a medical check and be provided clothing, toiletries, food and snacks, as well as a safe place to rest.”

As of April 15, there were approximately 19,798 children in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s care, according to officials. That number represents a network of over 200 facilities and programs in 22 states across the country.

“HHS is aggressively working with its interagency partners to ensure that unaccompanied children are safe and unified with family members or other suitable sponsors as quickly and safely as possible,” the agency said in a news release on Saturday. “To support this effort, HHS selected, with the assistance of the Department of Defense, the JBSA-Lackland property to establish an emergency intake site to provide (the) needed capacity to accept children from CBP into its care where they can be safely processed, cared for, and either released to a sponsor or transferred to an appropriate ORR shelter for longer-term care.”

The agency said the intake site at JBSA-Lackland is intended to be used as a “temporary measure.” Military personnel will not be staffing this site or providing care for the children.

All the children at the facility will also be screened for COVID-19, according to the agency. Services will be provided by a combination of contractors and federal staff, including teams from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

If you are a parent trying to contact your child in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, you can call the office’s national call center at (800) 203-7001 or email information@ORRNCC.com for assistance.

Also on KSAT:

About the Authors:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.