The Washington Post reports that the Trump Administration is laying the necessary groundwork to warehouse the children of migrants who enter the United States illegally on military bases in Texas and Arkansas. The bases will be used to contain anyone under the age of 18 who crosses the border illegally with their parents or on their own.
In a leaked email sent to Pentagon personnel, it was disclosed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be making visits to four military installations in the coming weeks to evaluate whether they contain infrastructure suitable for sheltering children.
From the Washington Post:
An official at HHS confirmed the military site visits. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public, the official said HHS currently has the bed space to hold 10,571 children in its network of 100 foster-care facilities.
Those facilities are at 91 percent capacity, the HHS official said, and the Trump administration’s crackdown plans could push thousands more children into government care. The official said DHS has not provided projections for how many additional children to expect.
The move to assess the suitability of housing on military property comes in the wake of the Trump Administration’s escalating war on migrants and asylum seekers hoping for the shelter, protection and opportunity that the United States once stood for. With escalating violence in Mexico, South and Central America, there could be no worse time to exclude vulnerable people from entering the country, illegally or otherwise. But here we are.
This isn’t the first time that American military bases have been used to shelter children. Back in 2014, the Obama Administration designated a number of bases as emergency housing for kids that entered the U.S. without parents or relatives. What’s happening now isn’t that. In a speech last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was quoted saying, “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law.” Sessions finished by saying, “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”
Image: Makaristos – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2939481