At least 150 of the thousands of refugee children who had been detained in recent weeks at the U.S. Mexico border have arrived here in Erie.
The children are housed in a dormitory owned by the Pennsylvania International Academy.
Here is the latest on this developing story.
These kids are coming from thousands of miles away and we are being told that the children haven’t showered for 15 days.
When the children arrived last night, the had the chance to shower, wear some nice comfy clothes, and of course have a meal to eat.
Children from different parts of Latin America are being separated from their families at the U.S. Mexico border.
Now the border crisis has resulted in migrants being sent to different places in the nation. Erie is one of those places.
There are 146 children, all of them girls, being housed at the Pennsylvania International Academy off of Oliver Road.
Upon arrival, these children had the chance to shower, were given clean clothes, and given food.
“They were just very excited to have a bed to sleep in with clean sheets and pillows and clean clothes,” said Trish Danner, PIO, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Public Information Officer Trish Danner of HHS said upon arrival the children were tested for COVID and other medical conditions.
There’s a medical team from the National Institute of Health that will remain with the kids for the time being.
“Everybody is working so hard to make sure these kids are content, safe, fed, and clean. It’s just a great experience,” said Danner.
While the children are being in the facility, they’re being supported by the Holy Family Institute.
“Right now we’re waiting for the needs to be identified so we’re asking if that the community could take a pause before jumping into action,” said Patrick Swick, Director of Social Justice for the Diocese of Erie.
Swick said that Erie has a rich history of supporting people in need.
In the mean time, the children will be fed three times a day. COVID-19 testing will also be done every four days.
The facility has approximately 498 beds total. The Erie Community may expect to see more children arriving in a few weeks.
We have been told that the children will be connected with sponsors or relatives within 35 days.
We were also told that a translator has been made available for these children as well.