Administration's Plan for Immigrant Children: Send Them to Military Bases

Evarado Alatorre
May 17, 2018

President Donald Trump's administration is making plans to house alien minors on military bases as part of a push to prosecute adults who illegally cross the border with children in tow, according to multiple reports.

The move would split children from their parents after they crossed the US border from Mexico illegally and comes as the administration has increased its crack down on illegal immigrants after border agents said March and April had the highest monthly totals of illegal immigration since Donald Trump became president.

The Health and Human Services Department is also considering using the bases to shelter children who were separated from their parents while illegally entering the country, the officials reportedly said.

Officials in his administration have followed his lead in getting tougher on illegal immigration.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said parents will likely be separated from their children in the process; the parents will be sent to jail while the children will be sent to HHS custody.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which would carry out the policy, said in a statement to the Associated Press that it routinely evaluates additional locations for temporary housing of illegal immigrants.

If that proposed plan is meant to deter families from crossing the border for fear of separation, it ignores that that's already been a threat and immigrant parents and children already often find themselves pulled apart.

The Washington Post cited email notification sent to Defense Department staffers detailing the preparations. 'No decisions have been made at this time, ' the email read.

Almost 1 in 4 Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border from October through April was someone who came in a family.

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The separation of immigrant children from their parents has often had dire consequences. They are provided with educational and recreational opportunities and 85 percent are returned to their parents or another family member.

Trump last month ordered the Pentagon to help Homeland Security officials cope with the surge in illegal crossings, including the mobilization of up to 4,000 National Guard troops. The New York Times reported last week that Trump is frustrated by an increase in immigration under his presidency and berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Cabinet meeting.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration's practice of separating children from parents when the family is being prosecuted for entering the US illegally, telling a Senate committee Tuesday that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens "in the United States every day".

She told a Senate committee Tuesday that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens 'in the United States every day'.

In a contentious exchange with Sen.

During a Senate testimony, Nielsen said families with children and unaccompanied minors accounted for 40 percent of the immigrants detained at the USA border.

The children are transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services within 48 hours, she said. If a person crosses the border illegally, she said: 'We will refer you for prosecution.

Detainees walk in a line at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville.

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