Meanwhile, some local advocates are expressing concern about the minors who are still in the shelter, specifically concern about their mental health. There are currently 1,465 teenaged boys at the convention center in Dallas awaiting to be reunited with family or sponsors in the U.S., according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“I get a lot of feedback,” said local LULAC president Rene Martinez of the conditions inside. “Most of the feedback has been positive. Yeah, a lot of the kids are stressed out, high anxiety levels. There’s been a few fights.” The teens also receive medical care and basic schooling, according to Martinez.
“The shelter treats them very well,” said Patricia Ponce in Spanish. “They eat well. They are provided clothing.” Media and cameras have not been allowed inside the shelter, but NBC 5 is told the teens are held in one large room where cots are set up in rows.
Telemundo 39 spoke with the mother of a 17-year-old from Honduras who was just reunited with her in Chicago after spending more than a month in the Dallas shelter. Martinez worries the minors will suffer lasting impacts from the violence and poverty they escaped in their home countries, the treacherous and dangerous journey to the U.S. Mexico Border, being separated from loved ones, to life in the shelter that for some has dragged on for over a month.
“These kids have gone through a lot of trauma and so there is anxiety. These kids are going to be suffering,” said Martinez. They’re allowed some time to play sports but are not allowed outside.
One man, who asked Telemundo 39 not to identify him publicly, says he volunteered at the convention center and saw signs of depression and anxiety among some of the migrants. “They’re feeling sadness. Some of them are feeling regret,” said local immigration attorney Cinue Herrera. The local leader says there is some ‘soft counseling’ made available on-site to the young migrants.
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