The U.S. Customs and Border Protection's temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, pictured February 25, handle an influx of migrants. To adjust to the growing need for facilities to temporarily house unaccompanied minors, the Health and Human Services Department asked the Pentagon to create temporary shelter at Camp Roberts in California. File Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr/U.S. Customs and Border Protection | License Photo
April 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has again asked the Pentagon for use of one of its military bases to temporarily house migrant children, a military official said Thursday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the request to reporters during a briefing.
"We have received a request for assistance from HHS for the potential use of Camp Roberts in California to house unaccompanied minors," he said. "We are moving forward with analyzing that request for assistance right now."
The request comes a week after the Pentagon granted approval for HHS to house unaccompanied minors at Joint Base San Antonio and at a temporary housing facility on an area of land at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas.
Camp Roberts is a California National Guard post located near Paso Robles, about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Paso Robles Daily News reported the California Department of Health and Human Services was working with Camp Roberts officials to house 1,500 children between ages 4 and 18 for up to six weeks. That timeframe could be extended for several months, though, as the government works to reunite the children with family members, or place them in foster families or other institutions in the United States.
An unnamed official at Camp Roberts told the newspaper the military installation was told to prepare for children to begin arriving within two weeks.
The Biden administration has been deal with a rising number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border now that many of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies have been rolled back.
More than 70,000 migrants were expelled at the border during February, Biden's first full month in office, after a federal judge blocked Biden's order to pause deportations to allow time for a review period.
Still, thousands of migrants, including children, have been housed in overcrowded facilities.
A report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general released Tuesday found a number of violations of detention standards at the La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz. The watchdog said the violations threatened the health, safety and rights of detainees there, particularly in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.