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HHS Intends to Expand Use of Military Facilities to House Illegal Minors

July 11, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requested expanded and longer use of Department of Defense (DoD) facilities to house the unaccompanied alien children (UAC) swarming our borders. 

Since fiscal year 2011, the number of these individuals entering our country has grown from 6,000 to 66,000 last year. By next year, as many as 150,000 children are expected to illegally enter the country. Due to this flood of illegal juveniles, the normal facilities are unable to manage this surge leading the Administration to allow and order the use of our military bases, including Fort Sill in Lawton, for housing and processing these children before they are released to sponsors elsewhere in the country—supposedly on a temporary basis.

According to recent reports, in addition to the capacity for 3,600 children currently being provided by DoD, HHS is now asking for the capability to house up to 5,000 more unaccompanied children through January 31, 2015 if permanent facilities are not yet available.  
“As suspected, the surge of illegal juveniles at our borders and the president’s supposedly temporary plan to use military bases for housing is looking more permanent by the day,” said Cole. “By requesting expansion of the military facilities and setting an even longer timeframe, it appears that the Administration intends to turn military bases into permanent detention facilities. This is an incredible failure on the part of the Administration and an incredible injustice to our service men and women for which these facilities are designed.

“Unless and until we remove the incentives for these illegal juveniles to enter our country, they will continue to overwhelm our borders. The president must stop the rhetoric and get serious about solving this problem. That means sending these individuals back to their country of origin and doing so as expeditiously as possible. It’s time to stop trying to manage the flow and fix the problem.”

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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