The Obama administration announced it is designating a third U.S. military base for emergency housing of children immigrating illegally into the United States without parents or relatives. The news came as officials insist that the children are in good hands, despite allegations of abuse by US authorities. Senior administration officials, who asked not to be identified, told reporters that an Army base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, will initially hold 600 ‘unaccompanied minors’ and eventually will be able to accommodate up to 1,200.
The moves come amid a tidal wave of children trying to slip into the United States, largely from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, often to join a parent already here. Reuters previously reported that the administration was seeking about $2billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to handle the influx in fiscal 2015, which begins on October 1, more than double the $868million appropriated this year. HHS takes custody of the children shortly after they are detained at the border by federal law enforcement agents.