Trump admin to house up to 4,000 migrant children at two bases, one Texas facility: report

Trump admin to house up to 4,000 migrant children at two bases, one Texas facility: report
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The Trump administration is reportedly planning to use two military bases and a facility in South Texas to house as many as 4,000 unaccompanied migrant children who have entered the U.S.

The Washington Post reported the plans Friday, citing officials. The three emergency shelters are part of an effort to ensure that unaccompanied minors do not stay in crowded jails, the newspaper noted.

U.S. officials have not specified which bases may hold the minors, though authorities have been considering using Malmstrom Air Force base outside Great Falls, Mont., Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Benning in Georgia.

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intends to shelter 2,000 children at the military facilities and another 1,600 at a temporary emergency shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas, the Post reported.

Federal officials told the newspaper that a private contractor will run the Texas facility while HHS will oversee the military bases.

HHS confirmed to The Hill that it would shelter the 1,600 minors at the Texas facility.

“HHS plans to start placing children at Carrizo Springs as soon as possible,” HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer told The Hill.

The migrants will be housed in dormitory-style buildings at the sites until they can be matched with a parent or sponsor in the U.S., though they will not participate in educational or recreational activities that are usually offered in child shelters.

HHS announced this week it will scale back services like legal aid, English classes and recreational activities “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.” 

A spike in border crossings has put the department on track to house the largest number of minors in its history, with 13,200 minors in custody as of June 2. The increase has put a strain on the department’s funds.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE has urged Congress to pass a $4.5 billion spending package that includes nearly $2.9 billion for HHS programs that care for unaccompanied minors in the government’s custody.

“Congress was warned for months this would happen without emergency funding,” Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, tweeted Thursday. “We have a border crisis that cannot be ignored and this is what running out of funds looks like.” 

Democrats, many of whom have been wary of the White House’s immigration platform after its “zero tolerance” policy last year separated thousands of families at the border, have taken issue with the package over funds that are allocated for enforcement efforts.