WASHINGTON: The administration of US President Donald Trump has asked the Department of Defense to prepare to house up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children amid what it calls a mounting “crisis” at the US-Mexico border, the Pentagon said Thursday, reports AFP.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “requested DoD support to identify space to house up to 5,000 unaccompanied alien children on DoD installations, if needed, through September 30, 2019,” said Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis.“DoD will work with the military services to identify potential locations for such support, and will work with HHS to assess any DoD facilities or suitable DoD land for potential use to provide temporary shelter for unaccompanied alien children,” he said.
The request for beds is preventative—they will not definitely be used.
But it comes amid a surge in the number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the US border from Mexico illegally, most of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. Most request asylum.
According to the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), the number of minors apprehended after entering the country illegally without family in February hit 6,825, up from 5,119 in January and 4,968 in October.