Migrant Children

AP Photo/Eric Gay

US Military Bases To House 20,000 Migrant Children

June 22, 2018 - 1:34 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- The Pentagon will make space available on military bases for as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children detained after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, says a spokesman.
The request for temporary shelter -- amid a growing political battle over detained migrants -- was made by the Department of Health and Human Services and accepted by the Defense Department, said the spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.
A Pentagon memo to members of Congress, obtained by The Associated Press, said it has been asked to have the facilities available as early as July, through the end of the year. It said HHS personnel or contractors for HHS "will provide all care for the children,'' including supervision, meals, clothing, medical services, transportation and other daily needs.

This wouldn't be the first time the U.S. government has housed migrant children at military bases. Former President Barack Obama did the same thing in 2014.

"About 7,000 children were housed temporarily in a similar surge that took place at the border under similar conditions. It was when the Obama administration changed its policy and put in the catch and release," CBS News Military Analyst and retired Army Maj. Mike Lyons said.

Lyons said in 2014, the children were taken to bases in Oklahoma and California but this time three bases in Texas and another in Arkansas are being considered as potential shelters.

"I think a lot of it is about proximity," Lyons said. "Because the surge is so large this time they have to get bases that are closer to where the problem is and all these bases have got facilities that could take care of large numbers of people."

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)