Trump Considers Housing Children of Illegal Immigrants at Goodfellow Air Force Base
SAN ANGELO, TX — Goodfellow Air Force Base is one of three Texas military installations being considered for a program to house the children of families who cross into the U.S. illegally. This is what was gleaned from email exchanges to Pentagon staffers, as reported by the Texas Tribune.
According to Tribune, the email told Pentagon staffers that Department of Health and Human Services officials may be traveling to San Angelo to evaluate Goodfellow AFB as a suitable facility for the mission. Other Texas bases being considered are Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, and Fort Bliss in El Paso. Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas is also on the list of potential sites.
The HHS is responsible for foster care for the children, identified as those under 18 years of age who have been separated from their parents or guardians, or have arrived across the border by themselves and without guardians.
The Obama administration faced a crisis over a surge in child migrants flooding across the southern border from Mexico in mid-2014. Then, a temporary shelter was created at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. In 2014, 62,000 minor illegal migrants arrived in the U.S., most of them from Central America.
Housing the children of illegal immigrants in this county has not been a welcome idea in the past.
In San Angelo in 2014, the Tom Green County Commissioners’ Court passed a resolution to oppose housing illegal immigrant children within the county. The motion passed 3-1, with Commissioner Bill Ford voting against and then-Commissioner Aubrey deCordova abstaining.
The housing of illegal immigrant children may have a different reaction from local citizens this time, however. In 2014, the consensus at the Tom Green County Commissioners’ court meeting when the commissioners voted symbolically to disinvite housing the children, the citizens’ comments noted that the Obama administration had done little to secure the southern border. In fact, some believed the Obama administration was encouraging the influx of children illegally crossing the Texas-Mexico border back then.
Monday, May 6, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid down the hammer on illegal immigration in a speech to the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies Spring Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Today, the Department of Homeland Security is partnering with us and will begin a new initiative that will result in referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution. And the Department of Justice will take up as many of those cases as humanly possible until we get to 100 percent.
“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple.
“If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you.
“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.
“If you make false statements to an immigration officer or commit fraud in our system to obtain an immigration benefit, that’s a felony. We will put you in jail.
“If you help others to do so, that’s a felony, too,” he said.
To Sessions, the separation of children from parents this time is being viewed as among the deterrents to families arriving in the U.S. illegally.
Where the U.S. Government will house those children separated from their parents at the border may be why facilities like Goodfellow AFB are being looked at as possible sites.
We sent an email to Goodfellow AFB’s public affairs office, though we doubt the base has been notified of the possible HHS officials visit, as this story just broke Tuesday afternoon. In an email Dyess AFB public affairs officer 2Lt Kali Gradishar told KTXS to contact the Department of Health and Human Services about the potential site assessments at Dyess AFB.
Updated with information from Dyess AFB public affairs at 6:32 p.m.