"Report: Trump administration considers Texas sites for tent cities for immigrant children" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Texas may soon be the site of tent cities that will house immigrant children separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, McClatchy reported Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is eyeing Fort Bliss, an Army base close to El Paso, as a potential location for a cluster of temporary shelters that could house between 1,000 and 5,000 children, McClatchy reported. The department is also considering Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo.
Thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents in the wake of the new policy, which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April. The policy requires immigration authorities to prosecute adults who enter the country illegally seeking asylum, while children are placed in shelters or with families. The tent city proposal is the Department of Health and Human Services' latest idea for housing the growing number of children under their care, who are quickly filling shelters.
The department did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic state lawmakers from El Paso gathered at the federal courthouse in the border city to decry the pending move and urged the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider its policies.
"Military bases should be used for armed services — I know [because] I served there," said state Rep. César Blanco a Navy veteran who trained at Fort Bliss. "We're concerned that temporary ORR shelters at military bases may resemble baby jails and detention centers."
State Reps. Joe Moody and Mary González said they would do whatever was in their power as state lawmakers to make sure that the facility at Fort Bliss is adhering to current regulations that address child detention.
"Anytime that you're housing children, your main concern has to be how are they being cared for, are you tending to the medical needs, their emotional needs," Moody said. "And so, if we're going to take that task on, is a military installation the best environment for that?"
When reminded that the DHS under President Barack Obama housed immigrant children at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, Moody said he felt the same way then.
"It wouldn't change my opinion one way or the other," he said.
Read related Tribune coverage