GALVESTON — A group of unaccompanied children at the center of the growing immigration crisis in Texas have apparently made their way to Galveston.

According to The Daily News media partner Houston television station KHOU, a group 50 unaccompanied immigrant children were brought to facilities operated by the Children’s Center. The Galveston-based organization provides, among other services, emergency housing to unaccompanied children.

According to KHOU, 30 of the children were brought to a Children’s Center facility in Oyster Creek, while the other 20 were brought to a facility in Galveston.

Children’s Center President and CEO James “Terry” Keel said Thursday evening that he could not confirm any children brought to Galveston were indeed from South Texas, though the television station cited him as the source of the information.

“I wouldn’t know,” Keel said. “We do get these children, we do serve these children, but I would not know if these were the children being spotlighted or not.”

Keel told The Daily News that the Children’s Center had participated in a program to act as emergency housing for unaccompanied minors for at least eight years.

“We do serve them. We have served them for years in the community,” Keel said. 

In 2012, The Daily News reported that the Children Center’s Multicultural Institute receives about $3 million a year through federal grants to run a program for unaccompanied minors. 

The program is meant to provide the children food, shelter, clothing, health care and education until they become legal, are deported or turn 18 years old.

However, the program has been criticized before for mismanagement of both funds and the people it was taking care of.

In 2009, an audit of the center revealed it had misspent about $630,000 from funds meant for unaccompanied minors. The center also faced criticism that it allowed single, adult men to stay in the same facility as families. 

Keel referred questions about the origins and identities of the Children Center’s current clients to federal officials. He did not return a phone call seeking to clarify the information he confirmed with KHOU.

Phone messages and emails left with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement were not immediately returned.

Houston became the epicenter of the immigration issue Thursday when many of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from South Texas arrived at George Bush International Airport en route to be housed at sites in Texas and across the nation. 

Other news reports Thursday said some of the children had been brought to facilities in Dallas County.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended in the Lower Rio Grande Valley since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. 

Some of the children said they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty.


Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

(12) comments

PD Hyatt

Unaccompanied children. That used to be called illegal aliens until our so called president decided that they could not be called that yesterday.... How charming it is to change the words so that they try not to mean the same.... Obama and Holder sent word for those criminal illegals to come across our borders and now we have a nightmare with all of these illegal alien children that are coming here sick with scabies, and all other types of sickness and yet Obama and his ilk are bringin them deeper and deeper into our nation.... One has to wonder why all that want all of these people that are invading our nation criminallly and illegally why they will not bring them into THEIR neighborhoods, yet have no problem spewing them everywhere else. Thank you Obama for NOT enforcing our laws and you and Holder are responsible for all of the crimes that they WILL commit in the near future....

Steve Fouga

"Some of the children said they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty."

A lot of American children could say the same, if they had a chance to flee somewhere. I bet some would gladly flee to South Texas from Chicago, Oakland, and Long Beach.

Carlos Ponce

"The Daily News reported that the Children Center’s Multicultural Institute receives about $3 million a year through federal grants to run a program for unaccompanied minors. However, the program has been criticized before for mismanagement of both funds and the people it was taking care of."
A common occurrence when Federal money is involved.

J. Shaffer

Paul, I must have missed where the current president changed the laws.

Oh, wait.

That was Bush who signed the law that they could stay.
"Under that law, most of the unaccompanied minors being caught by Border Patrol agents must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which coordinates care for them, finds them safe housing and helps advise them on their legal rights as their immigration cases are decided."

If you're going to point the finger, make sure it points in the Right direction.

PD Hyatt

NurseJayne, you might want to go back and read what I wrote again. Where exactly did I say that Obama and Holder changeed the laws? I said that they are NOT enforcing the laws that we have on the books. So I guess if you are going to make stuff up you might want to have something to back it up.

Carlos Ponce

Nurse Joy, Up until now, the number of unaccompanied minors entering the United States was 15,000 per year, hence the bill. So far this year only it has more than TRIPLED due to President Obama's call for Immigration reform interpreted south of the border as AMNESTY.

J. Shaffer

"Thank you Obama for NOT enforcing our laws and you and Holder are responsible"

This must be the part where I got confused and thought your were blaming our president. He actually IS enforcing the law; the law Bush signed that allows unaccompanied minors to stay.

The president called for Immigration Reform. Many agree we need it. That is not an open door policy, nor is it an invitation. What he says and how people interpret it are two clearly different things these days.

Chris Gimenez

No Jayne, he is not enforcing our immigration laws. He is supposed to secure our borders and stop the infiltration of illegals into this country and he has extended the "Welcome" mat instead. Perhaps if you stopped listening to Hussein's talking points and started reading the facts you'd understand just what role he has played in creating this humanitarian crisis. Easier to keep you head buried in the sand isn't it?

Chris Gimenez

Stop the presses! A federally-funded agency that shouldn't even be in existence is accused of mismanaging funds and operations? Tell me it ain't so! And the Left believes bigger government is better government.

J. Shaffer

What agency shouldn't be in existence? Did you not want to list it, or did you forget? (Oops)

What 'Left' believes in bigger government, or is this just a ,'Look, there's Elvis' attempt to avoid the fact that I'm right about the immigration law?

Chris Gimenez

That's an easy one and I know it has to be easy for you to understand.

The EPA-it now rules without any goal other than maintaining its own out-of-control regulatory control that is stifling innovation, costing the taxpayers billions in added costs to businesses, and is a black hole on Earth.

The TSA-another out of control government agency that does about as much to protect our safety as Heber Taylor does to give us the truth about the District Attorney's Office.

The Dept. of Energy-absolutely nothing of substance from this relic of the Carter administration other than to waste $27 BILLION a year of our tax dollars.

The Dept. of Education-another "success" of the Carter regime and another black hole into which the taxpayers fund a $100 BILLION a year for what? For this country's education to be so far down the list of world education's as to be irrelevant. It's a slush fund for teacher's unions and the Entitlement Party.

The IRS-it's proven itself to be a taxpayer funded arm of the Entitlement Party and should be eviscerated to nothing more than skeleton crew of forms processors. When the people at the very top are ignorant of the laws, ignore the laws, and violate the laws it's time to do away with it.

Thanks for asking Jayne.

George Croix

Even a 'progressive' should be able to understand that the FIRST thing one does when their home is being entered by uninvited 'guests' is to lock the doors. THEN figure out what needs to be done to the ones already in the house, and the ones walking up your driveway.
Part of 'immigration reform' is trust.
There is nothing, nothing at all, to trust about the people calling for 'comprehensive immigration reform', because they want to leave the doors unlocked while deciding what to do next.

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