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July 17, 2014

Texas Nonprofit Drops Migrant-Center Plan Blasted by Right

A Texas human-services charity has scrapped plans to convert a resort-style hotel into residential center for migrant children amid criticism from anti-immigrant activists and conservative media, write the San Antonio Express News and Valley Morning Star.

BCFS, a contractor for federal agencies handling the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America, said Wednesday that it has withdrawn a $3.8-million bid to buy the Palm Aire Hotel in Weslaco, Texas, citing a "negative backlash by information misreported to the public." The charity had outlined plans for a 600-bed temporary shelter providing health care, education, and other services for migrants ages 12 to 17, replacing an overcrowded facility in nearby Harlingen.

Fox News and other conservative outlets cited amenities such as swimming pools and tennis courts at the 25-year-old hotel in characterizing the proposal as a federally funded plan to house immigrant children in luxury. The charity had planned to turn the hotel into a dormitory-style facility like its other residential centers, according to liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America.