HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed the issues of a proposed immigration detention center near downtown Houston Tuesday.
The shelter on Emancipation Avenue could house up to 240 migrant children ages 12 and younger who were separated from migrant families at the Mexican border.
The owner of the facility said a lease has been signed.
Turner and District 1 Councilman Robert Gallegos have said that they do not want the proposed facility in the downtown area.
Gallegos called it the "incarceration of innocent children" and a "jail."
Turner said he does not support the children being held in a detention center.
"I do not agree with it," he said. "And I would encourage the owner of that building, to the extent that's the current plans, not to proceed with housing children that have been separated from their parents."
In the last two months, at least 2,000 children have been separated from their parents who illegally entered the U.S.
The practice came after the White House introduced its zero-tolerance immigration policy in April.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is expected to introduce legislation on Capitol Hill this week to stop immigrant family separations. The bill would also expedite proceedings for those detained while crossing the border.
“This issue is different because it involves children. It's different. There comes a time when Americans, Houstonians and Texans have to say to those who are higher than ourselves. This is wrong," he said.
Turner said that he met with the leaders of Southwest Key, and while he says he doesn't question their intent he will not support their plans.
“I do not want to be an enabler in the process," Turner said.