The Pentagon has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to house vulnerable migrant children who have crossed the southern border without their families at two different military bases in Texas, according to an announcement made Tuesday. The first site would be at Fort Bliss in El Paso and the other would be at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The request comes just two days after the Biden administration announced the opening of a new facility that will temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children in Pecos, Texas. “What I can tell you is we have a request and those are the two sites that HHS just asked for support from,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told ABC News. “We’ll have to analyze it and evaluate it just like we would any other request for assistance.” A similar request by HHS to house children at bases was made during the Trump administration, prompting an immediate outcry. During the Obama administration, thousands of unaccompanied children were temporarily housed at bases in Oklahoma, Texas, and California.
Immigration officials have recorded a substantial spike in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in the last month, with nearly 5,000 held in border patrol custody last weekend. Over 800 children have been in custody for up to 10 days, well exceeding the legal limit of three days, according to documents from the Department of Homeland Security.