Federal immigration authorities have set up a processing center at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport to cope with the surge in unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. from Central America. By law, minors crossing the border alone have to be transferred from Department of Homeland Security custody to the Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours. Some of those children will be taken from the Rio Grande Valley to the Houston airport and then flown to housing in other parts of the country, officials said.
The feds said the airport will be treated as a staging area and not a shelter. If there is a transportation delay that can't be rescheduled within 12 hours, another housing arrangement outside the airport will be made for the child. The move comes two days after an ugly confrontation with protesters who blocked a bus from taking women and children to be processed in Murrieta, Calif., but it's unrelated.