The Trump administration is considering using military bases in Texas as extra temporary shelters for the increasing number of immigrant minors separated from their parents, the Department of Health and Human Services has revealed. The McClatchy news service also said that officials are thinking of erecting ‘tent cities’ to house up to 5000 children at a military facility.
Fort Bliss army base, near El Paso, and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, as well as Abilene’s Dyess Air Force Base, are set to be evaluated as potential sites. The Department of Health and Human Services says that its Office of Refugee Resettlement, which cares for undocumented immigrant minors, evaluates its capacity and needs for its existing network of around 100 shelters across 14 states on a routine basis.
The resettlement office has the task of caring for over 11,200 immigrant minors, kept in detention without parents or guardians, with the current shelters now operating at 95% capacity, McClatchy claims. The number has increased by over 20% recently because of the new policy of ‘zero tolerance’ from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Since 2014, tens of thousands of immigrant families and unaccompanied minors have been taken into custody following the surge of immigrants from Central America to the US border. But, now even youngsters caught with their parents are being separated from them and sent to sponsor families or HHS shelters, resulting in overcrowding.