Pentagon asked to house up to 20,000 migrant children
The Trump administration on Thursday asked the Pentagon if it can house up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on military bases in the coming months as it seeks to enforce its controversial immigration policy, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The request came from the Department of Health and Human Services, an official who asked not to be named told Anadolu Agency, adding the Pentagon is now considering putting it into effect.
New York Senator and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement confirmed the request but said there were questions over its feasibility.
‘‘The Department of Defense has been asked whether it can house 20,000 unaccompanied children between now and the end of the year. How will that work? Is it even feasible?” Schumer said as he addressed the issue on the Senate floor.
The request concerns migrant children detained after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The latest development follows an uproar over the administration’s highly controversial practice of separating undocumented parents suspected of crossing the border illegally from their children.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday halting the practice.
The move came after Trump said last Friday that he would be unable to remedy the situation through executive action, variously blaming Congress and Democrats for the practice.
Trump's "zero tolerance" policy refers all undocumented adults for criminal prosecution, a break with past administrations who limited criminal referral for most adults who illegally cross into the U.S. with their juvenile family members.
The policy called for children, who are not charged with a crime, to be separated as a result of their parents' criminal case. As a matter of regulation, they were not allowed to be detained with their parents during legal proceedings.
Images were steadily released since they began to be disseminated over the weekend of children being held in chain-link metal cages, exacerbating what was already a flurry of controversy.
The practice stirred outrage, including among members of Trump's party, who urged the president to change course on humanitarian grounds.
Several state governors, including Republicans, pulled back or halted National Guard deployments meant to bolster Trump's border security efforts in an effort to have him reconsider the policy.
Some senior officials sought to stave off the backlash, putting the onus on lawmakers while denying that any responsibility lies with the administration.
It is unclear what will become of the over 2,000 children who have already been taken from their parents.
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