Officials told AP that the federal government is considering housing at military bases those children picked up crossing the US border illegally either alone or after being separated from their parents by the government.
The move would split children from their parents after they crossed the USA border from Mexico illegally and comes as the administration has increased its crack down on illegal immigrants after border agents said March and April had the highest monthly totals of illegal immigration since Donald Trump became president. 'No decisions have been made at this time, ' the email read.
Detainees walk in a line at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville. CBP provided media tours Wednesday at two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz., that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since October 1.
The sources discussed the plan Tuesday on condition of anonymity because it has not been made public or made final. In that instance, though the federal government was responding to an external crisis, rather than making a policy change that will result in more children entering foster care.
Trump officials say they are moving forcefully to halt a sharp increase in the number of families crossing the border illegally this spring, many of whom are Central Americans seeking asylum.
Border agents arrested more than 100,000 illegal border-crossers in March and April, the highest monthly totals since President Donald Trump took office, the Post reported. The New York Times reported last week that Trump is frustrated by an increase in immigration under his presidency and berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Cabinet meeting. In April 2016, The Associated Press reported that over two dozen immigrant children who had been placed in foster care were later subjected to sexual abuse, human trafficking or other abuse.
Illegal immigrant children are often separated from their parents for their own welfare, or because their parents are facing criminal charges. "It's not our fault that somebody does that". Children spend an average of 45 days in HHS care, and 85% of children are reunited either with their parents or with another adult family member, according to the Post.
This would not be the first time immigrant children were housed at military bases.
Military bases have previously been used to hold UAC, most recently during a wave of migrant children and families that began in 2014, overwhelming resources along the southwest border.
Critics have denounced Trump administration move to separate children from families, claiming it inflicts great trauma on the children.
Trump last month ordered the Pentagon to help Homeland Security officials cope with the surge in illegal crossings, including the mobilization of up to 4,000 National Guard troops. Military personnel have been deployed in a supporting role, and are not allowed to arrest migrants. Three of the bases are in Texas - the Army's Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force Base and Dyess Air Force Base. When the military has loaned space at its facilities in the past, HHS has reimbursed the Defense Department and the military has had little to do with the operation.