UPDATE: Houston Facility for Migrant Children “Lacks Proper Permits to Open”

The city says Southwest Key will have to reapply for permits and wait for new inspections before the facility can open

A controversial Houston center to hold unaccompanied migrant children run by Southwest Key may not be opening this week, as some previously thought. Officials with the city of Houston say the facility has not yet secured the proper permits to begin operations.

In a tweet on Tuesday state senator Slyvia Garcia said a lawyer with Southwest Key told her the facility could open this week. A spokesperson for Southwest Key confirmed to Houston Public Media the nonprofit is waiting on state inspections but did not comment on permits from the city of Houston.

Those comments and further news reports prompted Houston officials to hold a press conference Wednesday, where they claimed while the city had previously issued a fire permit to Southwest Key, the nonprofit’s intended purpose for the facility did not match the application it submitted for the permit.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

City officials requested more information from Southwest Key after they learned the center would hold unaccompanied minors, according to Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock.

An official with the Houston Health Department also said the location doesn't have permits to serve food.

The city says Southwest Key will have to reapply for an occupational permit and wait for new inspections before the facility can open.

Houston Mayor Sylvester has previously voiced opposition to the facility.

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Davis Land

Davis Land

Senior Producer

Davis Land is Houston Public Media's senior news producer. He leads coverage for News 88.7's morning newscasts and coordinates between beat reporters, newscasters, and the Houston Matters team. Before joining Houston Public Media, Land produced for WBUR's newscast unit and Atlantic Public Media. His work has been heard on NPR's...

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