Alabama’s senators are calling on the Obama administration to reject any proposals to house unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors at the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery.
“Instead of wasting resources searching for housing locations more than 900 miles away from our southern border, we firmly believe that the Administration should be expeditiously and humanely transporting these individuals back to their homes,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Sec. Sylvia Burwell.
Last week the administration revealed that the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is one of six military bases the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS is considering to use as facilities to house unaccompanied minors detained illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
In recent months the number of unaccompanied minors and family units illegally crossing the U.S. -Mexico border has accelerated, beyond its already elevated level, leading officials to prepare for a renewed border surge.
Shelby and Sessions say they strongly oppose using Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base to house illegal minors, arguing the active military base is intended to develop “mission-ready Airmen.”
“As a nation that is currently at war, we believe that efforts to house, feed, and care for illegal immigrants at Maxwell would do nothing to prepare our men and women for combat, nor do anything to enhance the readiness of our armed forces, to which end the U.S. taxpayers have invested in this world-class installation. In fact, this added mission would be an unwelcome and unneeded distraction that will certainly interfere with, and possibly compromise, the critical work at Maxwell-Gunter,” they wrote.
The pair further criticized the Obama administration’s immigration policies, blaming Obama’s enforcement failures for the renewed run on the border.
“President Obama’s refusal to enforce our nation’s immigration laws caused the situation that we currently face, and his decision to further reward lawlessness places additional undue burdens on Alabama communities, families, and workers,” the pair wrote. “Executive amnesty pushed by the President had the completely foreseeable consequence of encouraging a spike in illegal immigrants, including children and minors.”