Thousands flood migrant center in north Houston

HOUSTON – After a slow June and slight pick up in July, thousands of migrants are showing up at the family transfer center in north Houston in August.

Officials said a total of 233 people were bused to the center from the border by NGOs in June, far fewer than they expected.

In July, three times as many arrived.

In the first two weeks of August, 3,253 people have come through the temporary facility.

“It wasn’t expected,” said Carlos Villarreal, who helps run the facility. “It was a good stress test. It allowed us to know where we can improve in helping the migrants.”

The center went through its large supplies of food, clothing and hygiene kits fast, but they were quickly replenished.

“Towards the end of July, when we saw the increase in COVID, we made the decision to only help migrants that have been tested along the border and have proof that they are negative,” said Villarreal.

KPRC 2 met a family at the center who had bused and walked to the Texas-Mexico border from Guatemala.

“Because there are not enough opportunities for work there,” said Marco Antonio in Spanish, sitting alongside his wife Lilian and daughters Caterine and Darlene. “We left our parents and other relatives, but we thought of the future of our daughters.”

The family said the 1,600-mile journey took 12 days.

“Almost without exception, they say we’re happy to be here,” said Villarreal, “We’re grateful to be here. We want to contribute.”

The family transfer center accepts only migrant families, usually for 24 hours or less. A pitstop on their way to family and friends throughout the United States.

Antonio and his family are headed to Pennsylvania where a friend of his has offered him a job.