Fed-backed group drops plan to buy hotel to house illegal immigrants

A deal to buy a hotel in Texas explicitly to house hundreds of illegal immigrant children has been scuttled after taxpayer uproar. BCFS, previously known as Baptist Child and Family Services, had a deal to buy the Palm Aire Hotel in Weslaco, Texas, for $3.8 million.

The hotel was built in the 1980s and includes three swimming pools, tennis courts and an exercise room.

As Fox News reports, citing a BCSF statement, the proposal sought to find a solution for providing safe, humane care for the children flooding across the border and overwhelming U.S. Border Patrol and communities. Officials said the project never reached the point of submitting a proposal to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but one of the hotel's current owners confirmed that a sales agreement with BCSF had been in place.

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BCSF had planned to hire 650 workers to staff the facility, according to sources.

"The facility also would have allowed for the quick transfer of children in Border Patrol custody in South Texas to a residential child care facility, and then expedited release to their families," BCFS officials said. "The average length of stay was expected to be 15 days. During that time, children would be provided room and board, in addition to basic education, recreational activities, medical and mental health care, case management, and religious services, if they chose to participate. The children would not have attended public school."

But images of the hotel's amenities generated a backlash that officials said could not be overcome.

"We are not going to continue with trying to purchase that hotel," a source close to the plan told Fox News. "It was just too controversial. We should have known better, no matter what the cost."

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