Southwest Key Program In Brownsville Lays Off Large Percent Of Employees

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - As News Center 23 has been reporting, the number of immigrant families and children coming from Central America through Mexico and on to the Valley has been dwindling in the last few months.

One of the Southwest Key Program facilities,  which used to be the old Walmart on South Padre Island Highway, was remodeled into a shelter to hold some of those immigrant children while their parents await an immigration hearing.

Former employees told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez that more than a 100 employees were let go, or 80% of employees.

Among them counselors, case workers, youth care workers and clinicians, some who KVEO Marlane Rodriguez spoke to today off camera, recruited from another country. 

Former employees said the former Walmart facility only had a few dozen immigrant children. 

In fiscal year 2016, total apprehensions by the border patrol on our southwest border, between ports of entry, was 408,870. 36, 717 were apprehended here in the RGV sector.

As News Center 23 Marlane Rodriguez was recording video, she was asked to leave and the police were called.

Southwest denied an interview, and News Center 23 called a media relations personal and left a message.  

Former employees said Southwest said they would start releasing people on May 22 and were shocked and upset when they were informed of their job loss on May 18.

Some of those employees had only been working at the facility for a few months and were recruited from another country.

Employees were let go with uncertainty of the signing  and relocation bonus they were promised by Southwest and were escorted out of the facility.

A few that were laid off agreed to meet with the media tomorrow. News Center 23 will keep you updated. 




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