People of Northwest Public Radio
Tue July 15, 2014
JBLM Could Be Shelter for Immigrant Children
Hundreds of immigrant children held at the southern border could be moved to a military base near Tacoma. Federal and local officials plan to discuss the option tomorrow.
Border officials are swamped, as record numbers of children flood into the U.S. from Central America. They come alone. Their average age is 14. And many are running from gang violence.
The feds have already opened a few temporary shelters closer to the border. And now officials are considering Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, as another location.
About 600 children could be moved to the base, as they wait for their day in court. Some of these children may qualify for asylum or other ways to legally stay in the U.S.
Congressman Denny Heck, of Olympia, helped set up Wednesday’s meeting.
"The assessment of the facility is ongoing,” but “nevertheless, the public deserves to know more about what this development would involve,” Heck said in a statement.
The meeting will include federal officials from Housing and Human Services, which takes custody of minors on the border. It’ll also include staff from the city of Lakewood, where the base is located.
On its website, HHS says these temporary shelters have minimal impact on the local community. And they’re only authorized to stay open for four months.
Copyright 2014 KUOW
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