Trump officials consider using tent cities to house unaccompanied minors
The Trump administration is considering erecting tent cities at a military base in Texas to house unaccompanied migrant children currently held in detention, McClatchy reported on Tuesday.
In the coming weeks, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials will visit Fort Bliss, the Army base near El Paso, Texas, to look at the land where they are considering building a tent city that would hold between 1,000 to 5,000 children, U.S. officials with knowledge of the plan told McClatchy.
HHS has been looking into using military bases to house immigrant minors since at least last month.
Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas; Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas; and Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas are also being considered by HHS officials as temporary shelters.
The number of migrant children without their parents being held by the federal government has grown by more than 20 percent since the administration began to strongly enforce a policy that separates migrant parents and children who are apprehended by authorities, McClatchy reported.
According to the report, more than 10,000 migrant children are currently being held in HHS shelters, putting the shelters at 95 percent capacity.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the separation policy is a way to deter migrants from entering the country illegally.
Unaccompanied children who are caught crossing the border illegally are turned over to HHS to be placed in foster homes or appropriate installations.
The Obama administration also used shelters in military bases to house unaccompanied minors following the 2014 surge in migrants from Central America.