WASHINGTON — The Protection Division is reviewing plenty of navy bases to discover a location that may home as much as 5,000 unaccompanied migrant youngsters because the U.S. braces for a surge of individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally this spring.
The Division of Well being and Human Companies submitted the request for house late final week, as Homeland Safety leaders warned that tens of hundreds of households are crossing the border every month. That movement, mentioned Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, will develop worse this spring because the climate will get higher.
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The Pentagon final summer time authorized using Goodfellow Air Drive Base close to San Angelo, Texas, for an HHS request to accommodate as much as 20,000 youngsters. Authorized and environmental necessities had been finalized, however HHS by no means got here again with a proper request to truly use the bottom. Officers mentioned that the additional spaced wasn’t wanted, and there additionally had been issues that HHS didn’t have the cash to assemble wanted housing and different help services on the base.
Military Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, mentioned Tuesday that since this HHS request is smaller than final 12 months’s, the division is doing one other assessment. It’s unclear if the Pentagon will as soon as once more suggest Goodfellow as the placement or if there’s one other navy base which will have already got services that would accommodate the smaller-sized group.
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar addressed the problem of migrant youngsters throughout a listening to Tuesday earlier than the Home Vitality and Commerce Committee. He mentioned HHS is asking for $1.three billion within the 2020 fiscal 12 months funds and the creation of a contingency fund of as much as $2 billion.
“We’ve requested rather a lot, however on the price we’re going with the children coming throughout the border, it’s fairly a burden financially,” he mentioned.
— Related Press author Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.