HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The city of Harlingen will use a community center to house incoming migrants if the Loaves and Fishes shelter reaches capacity.
The Harlingen city commission voted on the measure on Wednesday with a unanimous vote to use the Harlingen Community Center as a second shelter.
City officials noted that this location will only be used when Loaves and Fishes reaches its limit, which is not expected to be every day.
Any funding needed for this will be allocated by a grant that was given to Loaves and Fishes in 2020.
Bill Reagan, the director of Loaves and Fishes, states that asylum seekers that were in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the United States by Border Patrol agents.
Officials hope that this precaution will prevent any migrant from entering the shelter that has COVID-19.
However, people that are coming across the border in recent weeks that were not under the MPP program are not being tested by the Border Patrol. Though, Reagan stated that his shelter will test people attempting to enter their facility.
Reagan’s goal is to use the community center to house an overflow of migrants that test negative for COVID-19.
Migrants that test positive for COVID-19 will be sent to a hotel to quarantine.
If an extreme influx of migrants is given to the city and there is no room at the hotels, officials may have to house migrants both positive and negative for COVID-19 in the same room, however, they will do their best to keep them separated.
Only families of migrants are being sent to the shelter. Officials state that they will not separate families. If one member of the family tests positive for COVID-19, the whole family will be sent to the quarantine center.
Reagan added that most migrants that come to the facility will plan to leave within one to two days of their arrival.