As concerns mount about a renewed surge of illegal immigration, the Obama administration is considering housing unaccompanied minors detained illegally entering the U.S.-Mexico border at military bases throughout the U.S., according to the Defense Department.
In a letter to Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) released by her office, the Pentagon says six military bases — including Alabama’s Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base — are being considered as sites to house the new influx of children from south of the border.
“The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS is expanding its capacity to provide shelter for the current influx of Unaccompanied Children at the U.S. Southern Border,” the letter from Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Matthew Rhoades reads.
“This temporary increased shelter capacity is a prudent step needed to ensure ORR meets its statutory responsibility to provide shelter for the unaccompanied children referred to its care and to assist CBP in ensuring that the US Border Patrol continues its vital national security mission to prevent illegal migration and trafficking, and to protect the borders of the United States,” he added.
According to the letter, which Roby’s office released Wednesday, the six military bases under consideration include:
. Gunter Annex – Maxwell Air Force Base, AL (nearest city: Montgomery, AL)
. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL (nearest city: Panama City, FL)
. Grand Forks Air Force Base, ND (nearest cities: Emerado, ND and Grand Forks, ND)
. Naval Support Activity Philadelphia, PA (nearest city: Philadelphia, PA)
. Hanscom Air Force Base, MA (nearest city: Bedford, MA)
. Travis Air Force Base, CA (nearest city: Fairfield, CA)
The Pentagon’s letter stressed that the consideration “is only a preliminary assessment – no final decision has been made regarding the use of any of these facilities.”
Additionally Rhoades informed the representative that the Department of Health and Human Services is also “activating” two federal facilities — Homestead Job Corps in Homestead, FL and Denver Federal Campus in Lakewood, CO — expected to provide up to 1,800 beds for “temporary” shelter space.
According to Roby, the plan is a “terrible idea” that she will fight as she did over a year ago when the federal government was again considering Maxwell-Gunter as a site for illegal minor housing.
“The Air Force personnel at Maxwell-Gunter, like members of the U.S. Military stationed at bases throughout the country, are working hard to keep America safe. That mission is challenging enough without the added responsibility of housing, feeding and securing detainees,” Roby wrote in a letter to the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.