(Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had received an internal government request to house unaccompanied migrant children at two U.S. military facilities in Texas, amid a sharp rise in migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The request by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the first under President Joe Biden’s administration and eyes Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing. Kirby did not specify how many children might be housed at the bases.
“We have just received this request, so I don’t have much more detail than that. We’ll analyze it and evaluate it just like we would any other request for assistance,” Kirby said.
HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. government envoys were to have initial talks in Mexico on Tuesday about managing the surge of migrants.
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The number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border this year is on pace to be the highest in 20 years, one of Biden’s top officials said last week, a rise that includes an increase in unaccompanied children.
The Biden administration has struggled to house the growing number of children arriving without a parent or legal guardian, which has left them stuck in jail-like border facilities for days. Republicans have blamed Biden for relaxing immigration policies, while some Democrats are concerned about conditions in facilities and why children are being held for so long.
Kirby said he believed HHS was looking at using a vacant dormitory at Joint Base San Antonio and vacant land at Fort Bliss. He did not explain how HHS would use vacant land.
ARTICLE SOURCE : thefederalistpapers.org