HOUSTON — Mayor Sylvester Turner formally spoke out Tuesday against plans to open an immigrant children’s detention center in downtown Houston.
“I did not as mayor give my blessing to this deal,” Turner said during a press conference with faith-based and community leaders at Houston City Hall.
A warehouse on Emancipation Street, which previously housed Hurricane Harvey victims, is set to house kids up to 17 years old who are separated from their parents after crossing into the U.S. illegally.
The mayor is not happy about learning of the news at last minute.
“I found out only last week that the building owner, David Denenberg, signed a long-term lease for his property at 419 Emancipation with a company called Southwest Key,” he said.
Until last week, the city was negotiating with the building’s owner to lease it as a homeless shelter and serve meals free of charge.
Harris County was also set to partner with the city to provide behavioral health services for the homeless as well.
Mayor Turner says in all fairness, Southwest Key has done good work in the past with children services, but now he’s urging them to reconsider this deal.
He’s asking the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to deny Southwest Key a child care facility license.
Turner further said, “There comes a time when Americans, when Houstonians, when Texans have to say to those higher than ourselves, this is wrong. This is just wrong.”