The citizens of Wallis heard more about the housing facility for unaccompanied [immigrant] children that is being put in place on Hwy 60 in Wallis, TX. The facility is due to open the second week in November according to Wallis Police Chief David Moseley in his report that he gave to the Wallis City Council at last Wednesday’s council meeting. “The housing is being put in place for migrant male children from age 7 – 17 until they can be placed with a family member here in the U.S.” Council member Joell Prado asked about whether the children were going to be attending the local schools. “Everything is going to be handled in house, so the children will not be interacting with the local school district.” Moseley responded.
The facility is being operated by the private firm Vision Quest (https://www.vq.com/) who is a contractor for the federal government under the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and more specifically, their Unaccompanied Children Program. According to the ORR website:
By definition, an unaccompanied child (UC):
- Has no lawful immigration status in the United States
- Is under 18 years of age
- Has no parent or legal guardian in the United States or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody
Following apprehension by a federal agency, UC are transferred to the care and custody of ORR while awaiting immigration proceedings…The majority of UC are cared for through a network of state licensed ORR-funded care providers…These provider facilities are state licensed and must meet ORR requirements to ensure a high level of quality of care. Care providers operate under cooperative agreements and contract.
- Classroom education
- Health care
- Vocational training
- Mental health services
- Family reunification
- Access to legal services; and
- Case management.
They also provide a continuum of care for the children in a shelter facility, foster care or group home (which may be therapeutic), staff-secure or secure care facility, a residential treatment center, or special needs care facility.
It is unclear which of the above the facility in Wallis will fall under but, regardless the community as a whole is concerned over its opening. Many in Wallis and Austin County are concerned that this facility will turn into a similar problem facility (now closed) in Austin County; Five Oaks Achievement Center that was located in New Ulm. For those unfamiliar with the issues with that facility, you can consult previous articles and video we reported concerning the center HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
County Judge Tim Lapham addressed the county about the Wallis Facility on his social media page. You can view the post below:
The facility has several jobs currently posted on their website including: Bilingual Youth Care Worker, Cook, Bilingual Case Manager, Bilingual Lead Shift Supervisor, and Bilingual Registered Nurse.
We have placed communications to Lois Kolkhorst’s office as well as Michael McCaul’s for a statement concerning the facility and will update this article as more information becomes available.
We have received statements from the offices of Kolkhorst and McCaul:
Senator Kolkhorst made the following statement today regarding the facility scheduled to open in Austin County next month:
“I am vehemently opposed to the opening of this facility in Wallis. We are working with our federal and local partners in determining ways to prevent this travesty from opening, including Congressman McCaul. I am appalled that Washington DC would drop a dangerous and burdensome facility like this on a rural community with zero local meetings or public input. This is unacceptable and the White House needs to hear the outrage from those of us who care about Austin County.”
Representative Michael McCaul‘s office released the following statement:
“Texas cannot continue to take the brunt of the growing crisis at our southern border. It is frustrating that Austin County officials were not properly consulted about this new facility and instead had this burden forced on them. These Texans deserve an explanation from the Biden administration, and it is crucial that we first ensure that the citizens of Wallis will be safe. I will continue to work with local officials on this challenging new development.”