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The New York Times this morning reports that Walmart is saying that “it was ‘surprised and deeply disturbed’ to learn that one of its former Texas stores was being used to house migrant children who had been separated from their parents.”

However, the Times writes, it may not have been that big a surprise. Real estate records show that “a Walmart executive signed a document that indicated the buyer was purchasing the property with a $4.5 million loan from a nonprofit that runs migrant children shelters … The nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs, now leases the roughly 200,000-square-foot building in Brownsville, Tex., that houses nearly 1,500 migrant children, many of whom have crossed the border seeking refuge alone or with their families … The shelters have only recently provoked intense criticism after they began housing increasing numbers of children who had been separated from their parents as part of an aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration by President Trump.”

The store was sold in 2016.

The Times writes that “as part of the sales agreement, Walmart made a long list of what the building could not be used for — mostly to thwart rivals and prevent adult or alcohol-related businesses from moving into the space. The developer could not convert the property into a grocery store or a discount department store that might compete with Walmart. Also banned: a billiards parlor, slot machines and video stores selling NC-17 films. There also could be no nude or ‘bathing suit-clad’ models or dancers in the former store, according to real estate documents.”
KC's View:
What Walmart could not possibly have known is that it would end up being mentioned constantly in stories that have created a political and humanitarian firestorm - that the words “former Walmart store” would be uttered constantly on cable news shows, usually right before or right after showing video or pictures of crying children.

It has been interesting to watch companies do everything they can to distance themselves from this situation. yesterday, both United Airlines and American Airlines said that they did not believe that children taken from their parents were being flown to other locations on their planes, and that they did not want any part of that business.