Federal Government Announces It Will Suspend Shelters for Unaccompanied Alien Children at Three Military Bases

by Ryan Lovelace

The federal government has reportedly moved forward with plans to suspend the shelters for unaccompanied alien children located at Ft. Sill Army Base, Okla., Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., according to a statement obtained by KENS5 in San Antonio.

“To prudently manage its resources, HHS’s Administration for Children and Families will be suspending these temporary facilities,” the statement said. “We are able to take this step because we have proactively expanded capacity to care for children in standard shelters, which are significantly less costly facilities. At the same time, we have seen a decrease in the number of children crossing the southwest border.”

The shelter at Ft. Sill will close by Friday, August 8, while the other shelters will shutter in the next two to eight weeks, according to News9 in Oklahoma City. In a statement obtained by News9, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin said she was pleased by the announcement, and attributed the decline in illegal immigration to the rising temperatures of the summer months, but said there is nothing to prevent the Obama administration from reopening the shelter in the future. “I am disturbed the administration chose to renew its lease on the facility, thereby preserving the option of reopening it in the future,” she said. “I am calling on President Obama to set the record straight once and for all: will this facility be reopened, or can we trust that is has closed for good?”

The best answer to Fallin’s question may be found in the HHS statement to KENS5: “Looking forward, there remains substantial uncertainty about the future flows of unaccompanied children. In order to balance managing costs with limited available resources and remaining prepared for sudden increases in the number of children needing care, HHS’s Administration for Children and Families plans to continue caring for unaccompanied children through a combination of standard shelters and surge capacity shelters. In the near-term, the three temporary shelters on military bases could be re-opened for a limited time if the number of children increases significantly.”  

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