These include housing the detained children at U.S. military bases and simply shipping the overflow to other states, mainly Arizona.
Britain’s Daily Mail reported on June 10 that the Obama administration plans to establish facilities to house children who have migrated illegally into the United States without parents or relatives at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Senior administration officials, who asked not to be identified, told reporters that the facilities at Fort Sill will initially be used to house 600 “unaccompanied minors,” but eventually will be expanded to accommodate up to 1,200.
The Fort Sill housing facilities will supplement similar quarters the Obama administration has opened at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and Naval Base Ventura County near Oxnard, California.
In recent months, what has been described as a tidal wave of unaccompanied children mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala has come across the border illegally, only to be arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. They usually have come trying to join a parent who is already here illegally. However, The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement to CNN that many of the youthful illegals have come here on their own, having neither relatives in this country with whom they might be reunited nor anyone back home to take custody of them were they to be deported. It is also possible that some of these children will not reveal the names of their parents who are here illegally, for fear their parents might be arrested and deported.
ICE officials, according to policy, do not keep children in detention. They are, instead, transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to be housed in shelters, including those on the military bases and elsewhere, with the objective of reuniting them with parents or guardians. However, if their parents are here illegally and hiding from authorities, that may be a nearly impossible task.
With the numbers of minor illegal immigrants reaching crisis proportions, the Obama administration is frantically searching for a way to extricate itself from this sticky situation, which does not help its case for “immigration reform.” Reuters has reported that the administration is seeking about $2 billion for HHS to administer this influx in fiscal 2015, which begins on October 1, which is more than double the $868 million appropriated for this function this year.
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Photo of volunteer helping immigrant children at a bus terminal in Phoenix: AP Images