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Texas leaders tour Freeman Coliseum as hundreds of migrant boys settle into a temporary home

Representative Joaquin Castro joined Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff.

SAN ANTONIO — As of Tuesday, 500 unaccompanied teenage boys are staying at the Freeman Coliseum. Congressman Joaquin Castro and other leaders toured facility-turned-temporary migrant shelter. 

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the Freeman has space for 2,400, though he doesn't know if every single space will end up being used. Doctors with the Centers for Disease Control are also at the Freeman monitoring the kids, because some have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Those COVID-19-positive children are separated from the rest.

"This may not be the Marriott resort," Wolff said. "But it is clean, air-conditioned and climate-controlled."

The hundreds of migrant children are between 13 and 17 years old. Most of them are from Central America and made the trek alone to the unknown. However, what is known, for now, is that they have food, medical services and a roof over their heads.

"They came over and turned themselves in and asked for asylum," the judge said. "These are good kids."

The Freeman shelter is not overcrowded like what we are seeing inside Border Patrol-run migrant-holding facilities. New video, from the facility, shows conditions at a facility in Donna, which is 16 times over capacity.

"The goal is to keep people in a safe, sanitary place is to move them away from the border processing centers and get them with their family and relative sponsor as soon as possible," Castro said.

The goal is to connect these children with a loved one or sponsor within 10 days. But leaders acknowledged it may take longer.

"Based on what I heard over the last few weeks, it is going to take probably closer to 20 in total," Castro said. "But the Biden administration realizes they need to do it as fast as they can."

If one of the kids doesn't have family, Castro said Health and Human Services will try to find them a family setting. He said the majority coming do have loved ones here in-country. 

The feds signed a lease with the county until May 30. Wolff expects the shelter to be running until that time.

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