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SVP International

Statement on Migrant Youth in Dallas

Posted by SVP Dallas


As of this week, and for the near future, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas is being used to house migrant youth who have crossed the border and are being temporarily detained by the U.S. Border Patrol. As noted today in the Dallas Morning News article by Diane Solis, a long-standing federal anti-trafficking law provides unaccompanied migrant minors with special protections and assessments and requires that the child be transferred within a 72 hour period from U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for care and further screening.

We ask our fellow North Texas residents to contact your elected officials, including your state representatives, county officials, and city councilpersons, to voice your support for this temporary use of the convention center. To do your part, we ask that you also consider making a donation to the local, nonprofit organizations that are providing auxiliary support at the Convention Center: Catholic Charities of Dallas and American Red Cross.

Fully acknowledging the tragedy surrounding the situation, considering its implications on our community’s character, and weighing its potential local effects: supporting this temporary use of the convention center is as much the morally right thing to do as it is likely to have external benefits to Dallas.

If we are to restore justice in our own community and region, we must be able to demonstrate compassion for those who have found little in their own. And while it would be reasonable to ask what costs our community might face in providing this facility, in this case, local budgets are more likely to increase through Federal funding for the facility than face challenges.

The circumstance that has led to the need to house hundreds of children in a convention center is a devastating, ongoing human tragedy and humanitarian call to action. These youth deserve a greater justice than what has led them here. While we are called to think globally, we must act locally with our focus on the good that we can facilitate.

At this time, we hope you will join us in responding to the situation with compassion, recognizing the fundamental dignity of every human, and help make our community be one of generosity.

The name of our state, Texas, comes from the Caddo word for friend or ally.  While there is a storied history wrapped up in that name, its meaning remains. Let us live up to our namesake more all the time.