SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Gov. Gregg Abbott is calling on the Biden administration to shut down the migrant shelter at Bexar County’s Freeman Coliseum amid allegations of child abuse, child neglect and sexual assault.
At a news conference outside the Coliseum Wednesday afternoon, Abbott said two state agencies had received complaints that there aren’t enough staff members to properly care for and supervise the boys being housed at the Expo Hall.
“Some children at this facility are being sexually assaulted,” said the governor. “Some children in this facility are not eating throughout the day. Children with COVID are not being physically separated from children without COVID.”
The Governor called the shelter at Expo Hall “a health and safety nightmare” and he’s directing Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety to immediately begin an investigation into the complaints received Wednesday morning by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
This was Abbott’s first visit to Freeman Coliseum since the shelter opened, but he did not go inside himself to check on conditions at the Expo Hall where nearly 1,400 boys ages 13-17 are being temporarily housed.
“It would be the Rangers who should go in and conduct the investigation. If they are not allowed in without me, I’ll be going,” he said.
“The Biden administration must immediately shut down this facility. The children in this facility should be moved to other federally-run facilities were the federal government has the space, personnel and resources to ensure their safety, ” said Abbott.
Bexar County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores called the allegations “fake news.”
Clay-Flores has toured the facility as an elected official and has volunteered there on weekends with members of her church.
“The conditions are sanitary and good,” she said. “If anyone is found to have COVID, the children are immediately separated in a totally different area.”
She suggested the allegations brought forth by Gov. Abbott are politically motivated.
“Anyone who’s worked with children knows we can always use more help, but what I saw when I was in there on several occasions, it is well-staffed, the kids were very happy, and they’re very grateful and excited to be here,” she said.
“This is not a political issue though some people in the great state of Texas have chosen to make this a political issue,” said Clay-Flores.