Breaking: Pentagon says to hold detained migrant children at US military bases in Texas
The Pentagon has agreed to hold thousands of detained unaccompanied migrant children at two US military facilities in Texas as President Joe Biden has come under mounting criticism over his handling of humanitarian crisis at the at the US-Mexico border.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had asked the Pentagon to house up to 5,000 children at Fort Bliss and another 300 at the other base, according to two US officials.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon said that it approved the request to temporarily hold the detained children at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland and Fort Bliss.
“The Pentagon will provide the HHS officials access to these locations immediately to begin initial actions to prepare for receiving unaccompanied migrant children as soon as preparations are complete,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
He said the children would be held in vacant dormitory and temporary housing facilities.
More than 15-thousand kids, including many of those forcibly separated from their parents, are now in the care of the department as US officials are struggling to process them.
Just two months into office, Biden has come under fire for handling a growing refugee crisis along the southern border with Mexico.
Washington has been battling to house and process an increasing number of unaccompanied children, who have been stuck in prison-like border stations for days.
Biden had already opened a detention center, used by his predecessor Donald Trump, to lock up hundreds of refugee children — a move the Democrat had criticized as former president’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Alarming images circulated on social media, showing packed border holding cells, where refugee children rested on side-by-side floor mats.
On Wednesday, Biden blamed Trump’s immigration policies, but acknowledged that “it is our responsibility to deal with it humanely and to stop what is happening.”